Sunday, September 19, 2010

Canada - Niagara Falls: Butterfly Conservancy, Botanical Gardens, Legends of the Falls

Our little group got going around 9 AM this morning and we stopped at the Boathouse restaurant for a good breakfast in preparation for another day of sightseeing.

This time we parked at the Butterfly Conservancy and Botanical Gardens and then spent the next couple hours enjoying the butterflies and the gardens. I must say the Butterfly Conservancy in Niagara Falls is the very best facility of its kind that I've ever visited, and I've been to several. The variety and numbers of butterflies is amazing - there are over 2000 butterflies floating freely among the lush, exotic blossoms and greenery in the conservancy.

After enjoying the Butterfly Conservancy, we spent quite a while walking around the Botanical Gardens, which are free for the public to enjoy.  The Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens were originally established in 1936 as the Training School for Apprentice Gardeners and in 1959 were renamed the NPC School of Horticulture. With an increase in garden development and quality of the plant collections, the school campus was officially declared a botanical garden in 1990.  The gardens are beautiful and definitely worth a visit - pictures speak louder than words!

While walking around the gardens, we happened upon an aviary housing ducks and other domesticated fowl. In this aviary was a most amazing bright-red streak of bird which a park worker told me is a Golden Pheasant, also known as a Chinese Pheasant and as a Red Golden Pheasant.  It was very difficult to get a good photo of this bird because he kept dashing around, pecking at the ground and generally staying very busy.

After strolling around the gardens, we got something to eat at the Butterfly Cafe and then hopped back in the cars to make our way toward town.  We did make one stop along the way, however, at a large souvenir shop where Lynda and I bought some shirts to commemorate our visit. Then we went on to the IMAX theatre, where there was plenty of parking, to watch the Legends & Daredevils movie. I give this movie a 7 on a scale of 1 to 10 - I was glad to see it, but the movie was not the amazing experience it was advertised to be and really did not add that much to our knowledge of Niagara Falls.

Back at the RV park, Lynda did some laundry while I began to pack up the Trek. Later on, we gathered over at the Fleeman's coach to have some of Judi's homemade chili for dinner.

The Fleemans and Chip and Carolyn are staying for another day or so, but we are leaving in the morning to visit long-time friends in Ohio. We've had a fun time here at Niagara Falls but I'm ready to get on the road again for a couple more adventures before we finally head home.

It's hard to believe that our Great RV Escape is winding down and we'll be home in less than a week!

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