Escape to Niagara, USA Day 2
Day 2 for us was Saturday, July 30. We had a lazy start to the day. We headed out for breakfast about 8am.
Before I dive into our day a few reminders.
- HYDRATE!!! Drink lots of water.
- SUNSCREEN, today was mostly overcast and I am very pink
- Patience – lots of people breeds short tempers
We went to Denny’s. It’s an All-America standard. I mean a breakfast slam, can you go wrong? They were busy but we were seated quickly. The food was good. I had a sticky bun pancake slam that was to die for. (I would have happily had more pancakes and less of everything else). My husband had an omelet. Our server was terrible. He never checked on us, someone else brought our food and got us more coffee. We did not leave him a tip…it was that bad. We did however tip the waitress, Caitlin I believe, who took time to take care of us even though she was very busy. There were several other waiters and waitresses that seemed to be managing well, so don’t let our lackluster moment deter you. Besides today would prove to be a bad food service day for the Gallien’s.
Niagara Falls State Park – part 2
Today we parked near the Cave of Winds. (Parking lot 2 I think). Our plan was to go see other venues and end at the cave for the day.
Discovery Center and Schellkopf Power Plant Station
With the discovery pass you receive 1 day of unlimited trolley use. (Trolley is $3 for adults per day and takes you to major points in the park. It also has a stop close to downtown Niagara near the Hard Rock Cafe and Savor.) We jumped on the trolley and headed for the Discovery Center. There are some interesting things here. This would be great for younger students leaning about geology, erosion and such. There were some nifty artifacts, but it’s a quick attraction for most adults. There is a short movie about the falls. It is informative, but a little dry. (It’s geology.) The screens are old so the color is not real consistent, but again there is some interesting facts provided.
The next stop was a gorge level viewing area at the Discovery Center. This is the location of the Schellkopf Power Plant Station. The station collapsed decades ago, but you can still see the impact of the collapse. There are quiet, beautiful vista’s of the gorge. I enjoyed this more than the Discovery Center itself. However, that lackluster movie at the Discovery Center provided information on the disaster.
This was not exciting.However kids will love it. I did enjoy the seals and the sea lions. They run a few shows a day for each that are very entertaining. Get to the tank early for the show and try to be across from the stage. Its the best view to see the animals inaction. Do not go looking for big sharks or such. This is a small sample of water critters. They do have several interactive or behind the scenes activities that are quite reasonable.($4-5 per person) They also have upclose interactions with the sea lions to the tune of $55 per person. We were done in about an hour.
A side note, there were vending machines but no snack bars at this location. Not where you want to be when you are ready to eat.
Niagara Adventure Theater
The movie gives you a great history of the falls to include the myths and the daredevils. The movie is about 30 minutes long. The seats are comfortable, so it’s a nice place to sit cool off and learn more about the Falls. If the line is all the way back at the gift shop and ticket desk, you will be in the next viewing. It’s a large theater.
The adventure theater is in The Visitor’s Center. This is a busy crowded building. Again, tourist attraction warning. Bring your patience and be nice. (In some cases the later will be trying.) There is an elevator for strollers and wheelchairs, otherwise you have two staircases inside the building.
Thanks Mr. Elevator Man
If you read day one you know we went on The Maid of the Mist day one because of the elevator operator’s warning. The lines today were insane! Yes the boats hold a large number of people, but these lines were extensive. Listen to the park staff, if they make a recommendation take it!!!
Time for Lunch – Sort of
It was warm today and we walked alot. We wanted a bite and lots of water, preferably somewhere cool. We went to the Hard Rock Cafe. They were busy but with only two of us, we were seated quickly. (It was about 2:15 PM, just after lunch rush.) Our waiter brought us waters and we decided to order the Jumbo Combo appetizer. Again, we were not real hungry. Evidentally, our waiter was not happy about that because he never checked on us, asked how the food was or anything else. We had to stop him to get refills on our water. Then he brought the check without inquiring if we would like anything else. I felt unwanted in his section.
Now here is the rub. Our check had the gratuity section starred. He brought me water and the check, nothing else. As I said earlier this was not a good day for service for the Gallien’s. (Yelp only gave 2.5 or 3 stars, should have checked there first.)
It was a small check and an even smaller tip. I have waited tables before. I know we were obviously a small tip table based on our order. That does not mean give bad or no service. Just get us in and out, so a larger check can take the table. We left the restaurant frustrated. That was after buying gifts for our sons who are home babysitting the dogs.
The sampler we ordered was tasty. The spring rolls and bruschetta were my favorites.
Trolley to Terrapin Point
Today the trolley was delayed due to a child being struck by a trolley. The child ran out in front of the trolley car. Although response was fast, the necessary responders prevented trolley service from continuing for about an hour. I will reiterate my day one warning…hold on to your children and watch where you are going. This area is very congested, especially on a peak day. I pray the little boy is okay, but the accident could have likely been avoided. (I’m not placing blame, but there are a lot of children running around in the area without proper supervision and control.)
We finally decided to walk over to Terrapin Point. It’s probably a half to 3/4 of a mile by foot. Lots of photo opportunities. Terrapin Point is across from Top of the Falls restaurant. (It gets bad reviews and the few people I spoke too said it was not worth it for a meal. We did not go, but it is an option for a snack and drink with a great view.)
Terrapin Point is the top of Horseshoe Falls in the American side. You can see the rapids clearly. You can also see the rocks at the top the falls…yes you are that close. This is probably a good place to see the falls lit at night.
We figured we should not test table service again after two rotten servers in one day. We went to McAllister’s Deli. It was great as always. I had sweet tea and a baked potato with ham, turkey, cheese and more for dinner. Joe had a soda and the steak baked potato. It was fast and oh so good. McAllister’s is located near the outlet mall so there are lots of food options. This area also has a Wal-Mart, Sam’s club and a grocery store. We were only 4.5 miles from our hotel here.
The owners are so nice here. We are considering a family trip with my parents and who knows else next year. The Stay Inn and Suites has 3 bedroom condos. We wanted to take look. One unit was reserved but not occupied yet. The owners graciously took us over and showed us the unit. It’s a townhouse apartment layout. 3 bedrooms with 2.5 baths, a full kitchen, living room and small patio. Due to NY laws they cannot provide cooking pots, pans, etc. If you reserve this bring your own. They are currently building another building of two bedroom single floor units. These should be ready for summer 2017.
I already stated the hotel is very basic. It is clean and quiet, which is sometimes better than luxury. Most of the other hotel/motels out this way I would not consider, we found a jewel.
Now time for bed…I’m exhausted. Tomorrow we plan to go to the Cave of Winds and maybe the jet boat ride. We have a restaurant picked out too. We have to have buffalo wings being in Buffalo. The gastropub we are eyeing looks amazing and is rated well. Perhaps our server experiences will be better tomorrow.
Good night from Niagara Falls.