The majesty of nature is a full display at Niagara Falls. Bus tours bring multitudes of people to the geographical marvel every year, making it one of the most popular tourist destinations in the U.S.
For the bus tour enthusiast to fully appreciate Niagara Falls, however, it helps to know a little more about it. Here, then, are some things you might not know about Niagara Falls.
1. Not one, but three waterfalls
Niagara Falls is the collective term for the three waterfalls straddling the U.S.-Canada border. They are the American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and Horseshoe/Canadian Falls. Over 2,600 feet long and 167 feet high, Horseshoe Falls is both the longest and tallest of the three.
2. 10,000 years old
Some 15,000 years ago during the last Ice Age, Southern Ontario was a frozen wasteland. 12,000 years ago, however, the ice began to melt to create new geographical formations and rivers. This led to the birth of Niagara River and, consequently, Niagara Falls. As other geographic wonders take millions of years to form, this makes the Niagara Falls fairly young.
3. Connected to Great Lakes
Four of North Americas Great Lakes are connected to Niagara Falls. Lakes Michigan, Huron, and Superior empty into Niagara River. Niagara River then drains into Lake Ontario by way of Niagara Falls. Bus tours to this natural wonder usually inform you of such facts, proving they are as educational as they are fun!
4. North Americas biggest waterfall
Tourists taking advantage of Niagara Falls bus tours will find at their destination North America’s biggest waterfall. Every second, cascades of water weighing some 3,160 tons flow over Niagara Falls. That’s the combined volume of water from Horseshoe (2,500 tons) and the Bridal Veil and American Falls (660 tons).
5. A draw for daredevils
Perhaps some of those who go on Niagara Falls bus tours are daredevils drawn to the challenge of conquering Niagara Falls. Numerous people have wire-walked over the Niagara Gorge, with the honor of the first individual to successfully accomplish the feat going to Charles Blondin in 1859. Most recently, in 2012, high wire artist Nik Wallenda made it across. Many, however, have died at tempting to do what both men did. Others have jumped over the Falls. The first case was in 1901, when 63-year old schoolteacher Annie Edison Taylor plummeted down the Falls in a barrel. Unlike some others who would later follow her lead,she survived.
6. Hydropower producer
In 1881, the first hydroelectric plant was constructed on Niagara River. Not two decades later, the station was already transmitting electricity all the way to Buffalo some 26 miles away. Today, the country’s fourth biggest hydropower plant, the Niagara Power Plant, produces 2.4 gigawatts of hydroelectric power.
7. Loved by tourists for over a century
In 1825, the construction of the Erie Canal made it easier for people to visit the waterfalls. Towards the end of the 19th century, Niagara Falls had become the worlds Honeymoon Capital. Today, it’s estimated that about 30 million people visit the Falls every year, and the numbers show no signs of slowing down.
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