Clifton Hill Attractions Add Value to Niagara Falls

Like it or not, wherever there is natural beauty in North America, not too far away are tourist attractions that seem to follow. In the case of Niagara Falls, Canada, Clifton Hill serves as the nucleus of most attractions outside of the raging rapids.

Photo by Josh Young

Photo by Josh Young

Over the years, Clifton Hill has seen tons of attractions come and go. Louis Toussaud’s Wax Museum has been there since 1949 and is just off of Victoria Avenue. Above the museum’s entrance is a figure of tightrope walker Charles Blondin. Not only did the stuntman cross Niagara River, just downstream of the falls, but he pushed a small wheelbarrow containing a small self-contained stove across as well.

Charles Blondin Clifton Hill

Halfway across the river he stopped, made an omelet in a skillet and served it to passengers below on the legendary Maid of the Mist boat. After they finished eating, Blondin continued across to the other side.

As you may recall, another high wire artist named Henri Rechatin got arrested by crossing the wires of the Whirlpool Aero Car just upstream of Niagara Falls on a motorcycle. A year after the incident, Rechatin was hired to perform a 15-day endurance test on Clifton Hill. He performed four acts each day, with the final one having him carring across a tourist on his back on a wire dangled between Ripley’s Believe It Or Not and the Hollywood Wax Museum.

Photo by Josh Young

Photo by Josh Young

Recently, I got a chance to experience several of the attractions in Clifton Hill myself, including the Hollywood Wax Museum, which has figures of anyone from Johnny Depp to Katy Perry and even Justin Bieber.

Photo by Josh Young

Photo by Josh Young

A few steps up the hill is Ghost Blasters 3D, a dark ride located within the Great Canadian Midway Arcade. The family attraction was created by Sally Corporation, who created my personal favorite dark ride of all time, Nights in White Satin at Hard Rock Park. Take a ride through Ghostblasters by clicking the link below.

Located just across the arcade from Ghost Blasters 3D is the XD Theater, a simulator attraction created by Triotech. This same technology is actually being used in the world’s first interactive roller coaster at Canada’s Wonderland, which will be featured on Theme Park University in the next few days.

Photo by Josh Young

Photo by Josh Young

Personally, the highlight of Clifton is the Niagara Sky Wheel, which offers breathtaking views of all the attractions as well as Niagara Falls.

Photo by Josh Young

Photo by Josh Young

The $10 million Sky Wheel opened in 2006 and stands 175 feet tall.

Photo by Josh Young

Photo by Josh Young

It features 42 gondolas that can seat a total of eight people each and has an onboard ventilation system that can cool it during the summer months or heat it during the winter.

Photo by Josh Young

Photo by Josh Young

In addition, each Gondola features its own sound system that gives a narration of the Niagara Falls/Clifton Hills area as well as some musical accompaniment which can be muted at the touch of a button if the guest so desires.

Photo by Josh Young

Photo by Josh Young

Chance Morgan manufactured the ride and it was my personal favorite while visiting Clifton Hill!

Photo by Josh Young

Photo by Josh Young

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2 Comments

  1. narniaexpert
    Posted August 28, 2014 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    I remember from my visit to Niagara Falls a long time ago that on the Canadian side there was some sort of Marvel themed family fun center. I think this had about four or five separately ticked attractions and was located nearby the Guinness Book of World Records museum and other small independent attractions. Did you come across this at all? I never visited this Marvel attraction, but I have always wondered about it. I recently read the master licensing agreement between Marvel and Universal Studios because I found this publicly available online. This was interesting to better understand the limitations that Disney must consider regarding use of Marvel characters in Florida. In the master licensing agreement it appears that there are exceptions for something called a Marvel Zone which would be an arcade family fun center with simulators. I wonder if that was what I saw in Niagara Falls.

    • Josh Young
      Posted August 29, 2014 at 12:33 am | Permalink

      Thanks for the response. I actually did an article on the Marvel deal with Disney. From what I understand, the fun zones were never official built. The one in Niagara had to close because they lost the rights to be able to use the characters. Why? I am not entirely sure, but I am trying to look into it for a story. What I do know is it’s no longer there.

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