The Maid of the Mist
Summer 2016 Challenge: Day 12
Last year my sister Jenn and I took the kids to Niagara Falls for the day (we only live 30 minutes from the falls) and we met a lady that couldn’t believe that in all my 36 years, I had never been on the Maid of the Mist. It’s the boat tour that takes you right up to the base of the falls and you get wet. I’ve always wanted to do it but honestly, the touristy stuff is never at the top of my list of things to do because the wait time is so long and I have other things to take care of at home.
However, we decided that this was the year we were going to do it. Well…. for what we expected to be only a couple of hours turned into an almost 7 hour excursion! Now the thing to remember is, we are only 30 minutes way from the falls but with the insane traffic, construction, and millions of tourists visiting it took us 2 hours to navigate through the traffic and find parking. (This is after driving the 30 minutes to get there to begin with!)
After needing to be a little aggressive with my driving and giving some other drivers the stink eye and staring them down that I was going to turn into the lane I wanted because I had been sitting there for 15 minutes without moving, we finally made to the parking ramp. We get out and make our way towards the visitors center because by this time we’re all starving. After a quick lunch we head on over to buy our tickets. We had to wait in line for about 20 minutes to get tickets and then stood in line for well over an hour to get anywhere near the boat itself.
Meanwhile, all of the tourists are driving us insane. They are so rude and pushing themselves through the crowds of people, touching you, bumping you, not caring if you are there but they want to take a photo and will do whatever it takes to take said photo. It was incredibly hot and humid today (in the 90’s), so when you have hundreds of sweaty people all pushing and shoving and getting all up in your personal space it makes for some irritable moments.
But we made it through….
We got our blue ponchos, we climbed on board to the Maid of the Mist and off we went. I have seen the falls more times than I can count from both the American and the Canadian side. Both in summer and in winter, and yet I have never experienced anything like this! It was so loud and so amazing to see the falls from the bottom and so close!
The water is super choppy and you bounce around and we were at the front of the boat but I never felt worried, with the exception of being worried I would drop my phone into the water! While we didn’t get as wet as I thought we would, there was enough water that it made it difficult to see!
It was an experience like no other and up until that point, all the line-waiting had been worth it. Until we docked and everyone got off the boat. We were all sent back into a queue that was about 3 times larger than the one leading up to the dock at the beginning. This is where people got incredibly rude and started pushing people out of their way to cut ahead of everyone.
It was insane and it took us over an hour just to get to the elevators to take us back up to the top of the falls. I would say up until this point, the kids had been very good considering the heat, the waiting, and the crowds and us adults were doing ok considering it all too. But every one of us lost it at some point on the way back. It was not our finest moments life, but we were done. We had spent hours doing this one outing and just wanted to go home or at least get back to the car with the A/C.
After we made it back to the car with our cold drinks and the A/C we all calmed down and headed for home. It was an amazing experience and I am glad that we went, however, I wouldn’t ever recommend doing it in the middle of summer! The heat and the crowds just made it miserable. I would do it again but certainly at the very beginning of the season (even if it’s not very warm out!) or at the end. Our next touristy adventure is to check out the Cave of the Winds, but we have all agreed that we have had enough of being a tourist for the year and maybe even next year too. lol
I did take a short video of the base of the falls. Sorry for my fingers being in the way at the beginning, but I couldn’t hardly see and I was also afraid of dropping my phone.