Niagara Glen and Nature Centre
Overlooking the Niagara River, deep in the Great Gorge, the Niagara Glen is a designated Nature Reserve with 4 km (2.5 mi) of paths that wind through a pristine pocket of Carolinian Forest, past boulders left behind as the Falls eroded through the area thousands of years ago. Hikes through the Niagara Glen involve an elevation change of over 60 m (200 ft). Proper footwear suitable for steep and rugged terrain is required. The Niagara Glen is a Nature Reserve that contains wild flora and fauna (plants and animals). Niagara Parks offers guided tours of the Niagara Glen during the spring and summer months.
The Niagara River corridor offers a unique winter destination for bird lovers, adventure travelers and ecotourists alike. Visitors can see one of the world’s greatest gatherings of gulls and other migrating birds. Starting mid-November, the river comes alive with more than 100,000 gulls on migratory flights from as far north as Greenland and the Canadian Arctic to as far south as Florida. During the winter months, the Niagara River corridor and Niagara Region are transformed into an avian wonderland. Vast numbers of northern birds including terns, gulls, ducks and geese migrate all the way south each year to the Niagara River corridor with its rich supply of fish for food. As many as 40 species of waterfowl, including Tundra Swans, Buffleheads, Long-tailed, Redheads, Canvasbacks, and 19 species of gulls, including Bonapartes and a variety of rare species can be spotted.
The Niagara River corridor is one of the world’s most biodiverse places similar to the world-famous Galápagos Islands, the Florida Everglades and Yellowstone Park. In 1996, the entire Niagara River corridor, stretching 56 km from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario, became the first site in North America to receive international recognition as a “Globally Significant Important Bird Area” by major conservation groups in Canada and the United States.
Every February, bird lovers and conservationists celebrate the vast diversity of northern birds that call the mighty river corridor their home each winter at Birds on the Niagara, the only international bird festival in North America.
Queen Victoria Park, the heart of Niagara Parks, celebrates every season in style with a visual spectacle, from 500,000+ daffodils and tulips in spring. The spectacular Oakes Garden Theatre is the entranceway to Queen Victoria Park, the key central area of Niagara Parks that showcases the perfect panoramic view of the Falls. Concerts and special events are held here throughout the summer. The Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens offers 40 hectares (99 acres) of beautifully maintained gardens to explore and is home to the Butterfly Conservatory, one of the largest in North America. Walk the green spaces and smell the flowers at the Floral Showcase. With seven shows a year something new is always in bloom. Visit Niagara Parks in May or early June to experience the fragrant Centennial Lilac Garden with over 1,200 plants and over 200 different varieties.
Dufferin Islands, popular with locals and tourists alike, offers ten acres of quiet secluded parkland including several small islands connected by bridges and footpaths. Admission free. Picnicking available. Nestled high atop the Niagara Escarpment, Queenston Heights Park is the birthplace of Niagara Falls - garden and nature lovers, hikers and picnickers have used this park for generations. Queenston Heights Park is also a terminus point of the Bruce Trail.
Geocaching in Niagara Parks is an outdoor treasure hunt where the goal is to find hidden containers, known as caches or geocaches, using a portable satellite navigation device called a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver. Niagara Parks has a number of geocaches to find. More information regarding different types of caches and geocaching in general can be found at Geocaching.com, and Earthcache.org.