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We went on a family outing to Niagara Falls yesterday.  It’s been a while since I’ve been there, maybe even not since our anniversary the year before last.  A lot of changes on both sides of the border.

We ate at the buffet in what used to be the convention center, now the “Seneca Niagara” casino, which is across from (boing) the “Niagara Aerospace Museum” — which I can’t wait to visit sometime.  The buffet food itself was truly the work of culinary professionals of high calibre.

On the American side, I think they gave up the idea of having an aquarium by the OxyChem building (no longer Occidental Chemical, but an indoor plaza of sorts) and instead have the landing pad for a huge air balloon. 

But the biggest change was the Wintergarden.

I think the mall is closed altogether.  But what used to be an indoor arboretum, with fountains and trees to the highest points of the atrium, is now a playground (comparable to “Discovery Zone”) and some closed in shops.  I almost cried, and even Christina had mixed feelings, as cool as the huge play place was.

For many years, I had this fantasy of standing on the cement block in the middle of the shallow pond, surrounded by kids, telling all of them to make a wish and then reaching into my pockets and grabbing handfuls of pennies I would throw into the air.  I even have the stash of pennies, which I used to keep in a beaten-up old leather jacket where the pockets had no bottoms and the whole inside was one giant purse.  I don’t know what I will do with them … maybe donate them to the Make-A-Wish foundation or something.  (Trust me — we’re talking about a LOT of pennies.  It was a very heavy jacket.)


Then we walked (yes, walked) across the Rainbow Bridge to Canada and explored Clifton Hill and even got free tickets from an older couple from Florida to go up to the observation deck of the Skylon tower.  The hotels springing up (and having recently been sprung) around there are numerous.

But we had a great time all around otherwise, and I made a note of some of the attractions we didn’t do / see that we can visit another time.  And I don’t know how many miles we waked, but I’m sure we burned off much of our solitary-yet-more-than-adequate meal of the day.

I took tons of pics, as did Merry when she and Christina were on the “SkyWheel” Ferris wheel.  I was a bit too full in the stomach at the time, and didn’t want to push my discomfort with such rides.  But I was a little sad about not going with them, and on another day I’ve decided to give it a try.  The cars are pretty well-enclosed and they don’t move that fast.

There’s more to tell, but the short of it is that it was a wonderful vacation day for all, and a great memory to hold.  And between yesterday and the fair most of this last week, now we just need to rest from our vacation …