The parks and gardens in Niagara Falls feature spectacular horticultural installations which are considered among the most beautiful throughout Canada and the world. The gardens are open year-round and the flowers vary each season offering a landscape of changing blooms. Niagara Falls gardens offer hours of outdoor recreation opportunites from nature walks and hiking, cycling, photography, and bird watching - there’s always something to explore!
The Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens is among Canada’s largest with 40 hectares (99 acres) of beautifully maintained gardens to explore including the largest rose garden in Canada. The Botanical Gardens is located just a twelve minute drive from the Falls as you head north along the Niagara Parkway (admission is free). Visitors are welcome to explore the lush surroundings of this area by wandering the paths to view the gardens and ponds that can be found here. Also located at this site is the Butterfly Conservatory and the School of Horticulture, with the Niagara Glen and Nature Centre, Whirlpool Golf Course and WildPlay Adventure Course just down the road.
Located at the Botanical Gardens, the Butterfly Conservatory is home to 2,000 butterflies representing 60 different species. Temperatures inside are carefully regulated for the comfort of its colourfully-winged inhabitants, making this glass-enclosed conservatory a warm escape for visitors during the cold winter months, including the stunning waterfall feature gives the feeling that you are in a tropical rain-forest oasis.
A fun outing for all ages, the Butterfly Conservatory is a great family activity as well as a romantic date idea for couples. The conservatory includes meandering paths surrounded by towering tropical plants and blooms that have been hand-picked to attract the various species of butterflys. Butterfly food plants at the conservatory include Lantana, Cuphea, Zinnia, Ixora, Liatris, and Pentas. The species of butterfly at the conservatory include the banded orange, blue morpho, common Mormon, cydno longwing, Doris longwing, Gulf fritillary, Julia, Low's swallowtail, monarch, mosaic, owl, red lacewing, Sara longwing, and small postman.
The spectacular Oakes Garden Theatre serves as both an entranceway to Queen Victoria Park and a serene spot to take in the calm of the gardens while enjoying panoramic views of the American and Horseshoe Falls. Did you know that the site on which Oakes Garden Theatre stands today was formerly home to the Clifton Hotel? After the hotel burned down twice (in 1898 & 1932) the land was purchased by Harry Oakes who hired architects to create an intricate design of gardens and stone sculptures. Oakes Garden Theatre officially opened to the public in 1937.
Designers of this picturesque amphitheatre took advantage of the contour of the existing grounds to form a curved pergola overlooking the amphitheatre. Decorative iron gates, Queenston limestone edging, stone gardens, water features, ponds and bordering shrub were meticulously integrated to the formal garden design. The shaded lily ponds and formalized gardens offer visitors a tranquil escape in the heart of Niagara Falls. Be sure to explore the Japanese Garden that can be found behind the stunning pergola! This area is also home to the Secret Garden Restaurant featuring a patio that overlooks the American Falls, and steps away from the fun and excitement of Clifton Hill.
Queen Victoria Park, the heart of the Niagara Parks, celebrates every season with a visual spectacle of unique native and international plants and beautifully maintained gardens. In early April, Queen Victoria Park is home to a spectacular display of over one million blooming daffodils, giving Niagara Falls the title of the Daffodil Capital of North America. Don't miss the spectacular Hybrid Tea Rose Garden, tucked back from the road just south of the Niagara Parks Police Building. Enjoy the view of the gardens and the Falls from the Queen Victoria Place Restaurant where guests can enjoy locally-sourced culinary creations on the patio. Queen Victoria Park also provides a plethora of viewing locations where visitors can enjoy the nightly Falls Illumination.
Just south of Table Rock Centre and the new Niagara Parks Power Station, you'll find the hidden gem that is the Niagara Parks Floral Showhouse. Tour seasonal displays within the tropical foyer and three stunning display houses. Beyond the foyer doors, guests can also enjoy outdoor gardens and ponds featuring a miniature village and train. When visiting in the spring, guests walking the grounds surrounding the Floral Showhouse can take in the fragrant and floral Magnolia trees that line Magnolia Allee.
The Floral Showhouse presents several unique displays throughout the year that celebrate the holidays and the beauty of nature, don’t miss the Hydrangea Show in May, Chrysanthemum show in the Fall and the holiday Poinsettia show. The Floral Showhouse is a ticketed attraction and is also included in the Niagara Parks Niagara Falls Pass.