Talk to the animals in and around Niagara-on-the-Lake

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You might wonder what is there for a family to do in and around Niagara-on-the Lake. Here are a few suggestions.

Happy Rolph’s Petting Farm & Bird Sanctuary:

Located just before Lock 1 of the Welland Canal in St. Catharines, just off Lakeshore Road, this is a great place for the family. There are many farm animals—horses, pigs, rabbits, llamas, goats, sheep, cows, chickens, a donkey and more—all are accustomed to visitors. Purchase some pellets at the farm so you and the kids can feed the animals. The bird sanctuary features hundreds of ducks, geese and native birds as well as one of Canada’s most exotic collections of rhododendrons. Open 7am to dusk, Victoria Day to Thanksgiving. Free to explore.

Butterfly Conservatory:

The self-guided walking tour of the Butterfly Conservatory begins with a short, informative video presentation, close-captioned for the hearing impaired. This magical attraction features more than 2,000 colourful tropical butterflies floating freely among lush, exotic blossoms and greenery. Don’t forget to visit the twin baby marmosets—Cheeko and Bamboo—born on February 29, 2012, at the Butterfly Conservatory! Cost: $12.95 for 13+; $8.25 for children (6–12); free for 5 and under. Parking is $5. Open year-round except December 25.

Bird Kingdom:

Located in Niagara Falls, this is the largest free-flying indoor aviary in the world. More than 300 birds make their home in this multi-level rainforest setting. Visit the small aviary where smaller birds nest, a nocturnal exhibit which stays light at night and dark during the day so night-living animals will be active when you visit and the Macaw Market. Cost: $16.95 for adults; $14.95 for seniors 55+; $11.95 for children 4–15; free for children 3 and under. Special online rates apply: $13 for adults; $11 for seniors; $9 for children.

Bird Kingdom, Niagara Falls, Ontario
Colourful parrots are some of the variety of birds you'll see at Bird Kingdom in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

Safari Niagara:

Much more than a zoo, Safari Niagara is only 10 minutes from Niagara Falls and features a wide variety of zoological exhibits of both domestic and exotic animal species in well-designed enclosures. They’ve also introduced bungy jumping and a new multi-level adventure ropes course. What fun! Admission: $19.95 for adults; $17.95 for 65+; $15.95 for children 4–12; free for 3 and under. After 2pm, prices are $16.95 for adults; $14.95 for seniors 65+; and $12.95 for children 4–12. Admission includes guided tours (subject to availability); interactive animal presentations; and use of the splash pad, kite flying, fishing and paddle boats. All-day Gator Express is $3 and wagon rentals are available at the admissions booth.

Marineland, Niagara Falls:

Enter the enchanting world of the killer whale below the water’s surface at Friendship Cove®; watch the antics of the playful belugas; see high-flying dolphins perform amazing flips and other feats; laugh at the comical sea lions and adorable walruses; feed fish, elk and deer; ride fun and exciting amusement rides such as the Sky Screamer (be aware that height restrictions may apply to some rides). Admission rates: $52.95 for 10+; $35.95 for children 5–9; 4 years and under are free. Parking is free.

Donna Vieira