Our very first stop on Day 1 in Niagara Falls was Marineland! It was the girls’ first time there, and they had been excited about for months.

We grabbed a bite to eat when we arrived (as you would expect, the food wasn’t cheap, however Marineland does allow you to bring in your own food, which is a great perk). Here you see the girls analyzing the park map and coming up with a plan!

The path around Marineland is pretty much one large loop (with a clear map to follow), making it easy to ensure that you’re not missing anything as you take in the attractions and enjoy the rides. 
At Friendship Cove we watched the beluga whales (Marineland boasts the largest collection in the world) and killer whale, and enjoyed underwater viewing from the lower level as well. Everywhere we went in the park was clean and well-maintained, which definitely impressed me.

Marineland has a great variety of rides, and the girls found several they could enjoy together, without an adult. Their absolute favourite was “Wave Swinger”, where the kids sit in swings and the ride takes them up and around – partly because they saw a similar ride in “Ever After High”! 
When you bring a motion-sickness prone family to an amusement park, the rides may not be the biggest draw – but they loved the ones they went on, and the day we were there (a warm, sunny Tuesday) there were hardly any lines to wait in. (Unfortunately I couldn’t convince anyone to go on Dragon Mountain – the world’s largest steel coaster – with me!) 

When we arrived at Arctic Cove, we were treated to an interactive session with the belugas, where we had the opportunity to pet and feed them, under the direction and supervision of an employee. While the girls think nothing of seeing cows in our backyard, marine mammals are very new to them, and they had tons of questions which were answered by the helpful staff at every stop.

Of course we had to purchase the souvenir photo ($15).

We also made a stop at Bear Country, where you can observe (at a very close distance) and feed the black bears hanging out at the park. (You can feed deer at Deer Park, too!)

When the girls had taken in all of the attractions, we headed to King Waldorf’s Stadium Show, which stars dolphins, belugas, sea lions and walruses. This was a lot of fun, as the trainers put on a great show, even calling up a few volunteers. (We had a good laugh when one little girl was asked “Where are you from?” and she replied “Canada!” “Wow, all the way from Canada!” the host exclaimed.)
Of course we couldn’t leave without a visit to the gift shop. My parents had given the girls $25 spending money for our trip, and they decided to spend part of it, and save the rest for later. They found these cute little dolphin and whale stuffies (because of course they NEED more stuffies) for ten bucks, and I actually thought they were an appropriate choice to commemorate our great day at Marineland!

We found that a full afternoon was enough time to see everything we wanted to at Marineland, but if you have kids (or adults) who want to ride every ride, you may want to make a whole day of it. (Admission gates are open from 9:30 – 6 and the park closes just before dark.)

As we were leaving, one of my daughters asked me, “Are you going to write bad things in your blog post too?”

“Of course, if there’s anything my readers need to know. Why, did you think of something?”

“Well, the ‘Park at your own risk’ signs freaked me out.”

I explained to her that in a large – free! – parking lot such as the one at Marineland, owners don’t want to be legally responsible if anyone hits your car or makes a poor choice to break into it. If that was the worst thing about the day, I think we did pretty well!

Top 3 Things About Marineland from Frannie (9 years old):

1. Wave Swinger ride
2. Feeding and petting the belugas
3. Ocean Odyssey ride

Top 3 Things About Marineland from Maggie (7 years old);

1. Feeding and petting the belugas
2. Wave Swinger ride
3. King Waldorf’s Stadium Show

It was time to head to our hotel, the Courtyard Marriott. I’ve reviewed this hotel in the past, and they were kind enough to offer us a great rate for this stay. We love the central location, spacious rooms and free WiFi, plus and they have a great pool and hot tub. Last time we were there it was April, and we only used the indoor pool (which was warm enough this time that even I could swim in it!) On this stay, we took advantage of the beautiful weather and tried the outdoor pool too. I also love that there’s a Keg right in the hotel lobby (where a complete buffet breakfast is served in the mornings, too).

Coming up: Niagara Fun Day 2 – exploring Clifton Hill and the Oh Canada Eh? Dinner Show (Niagara’s Must-See Musical)!

Disclosure: We were provided with free admission to Marineland, as well as an interactive beluga session. Opinions are, as always, our own.

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