Category Archives: Information

Auctions America, Auburn Indiana

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This is my dream car. I go to this auction every year just to search out  Hemi ‘Cudas.

Every Labor Day weekend since 1971 there has been a collector car auction in a small town in Indiana called Auburn. If you have an interest in collector cars this is the place to be.

As usual, there is some interesting history to the auctions beginnings, and the town itself. But, that will be another post.

This is the largest collector car auction in the world. Though, I suppose we need to wait for this year’s numbers to come in before we claim that.

There is a $15 admission, parking is free. Kids 12 and under are free. You’ll want to wear comfortable shoes, the activities cover 235 acres of land.

When you enter the gates, there are tents immediately in front of you. Those tents hold the cars that have already been auctioned.

In the first tent last night we saw a Maserati.

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And more than a handful of Mustangs from the 1960s

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My intent was to photograph the cars with the signs that told about them, but, apparently I wasn’t close enough to be able to see many of the words later, and the lighting kept messing me up.

After you’ve wandered the tents, you head indoors where there are more cars, waiting to be auctioned.

Cars like these

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As you keep walking through these giant rooms, you will notice it is getting louder. You are getting closer to the actual auction. In a giant room are two spinning displays, with a car on each. Bleachers surround the center, and big screens display photos of the cars, as well as the current bid. When the auctioneer calls “sold”, the spinning stops, and 3-5 people, all wearing white gloves, so they don’t put fingerprints on the car, rush up to push the car down the ramp so the sound of a 1,000hp engine doesn’t drown out all going on inside.

Just outside the auction arena is the food court with the types of food you expect at almost any outdoor event. Elephant ears, corn dogs, twisty fries.

Then, you are at the other vendors. Have you ever felt you needed a giant, neon, Pontiac sign? Do you have $2000 spare to spend on it? You came to the right place. What about an old gas pump?

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You can venture out of the first set gates on the far side, this is where you will find the car corral. This is basically a 900 parking spot, used car lot for really cool cars. If you want to pic up a ’79 Trans Am (great choice, I used to have one) you can probably find one here.

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Maybe you’ve had your eye on a Roadrunner? Or a Duesenburg. You can find those here too. The cars in the car corral won’t be going up for auction. You bring enough cash and you can leave with the car you’ve wanted for years.

There is also a car parts swap meet outside the car corral, in case you leave with a project.

This year they also have helicopter rides for $30. And, on Saturday and Sunday they are having a monster truck show, free with the price of admission, as well as free monster truck rides for the kids.

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As you can see from the pictures I’ve chosen, my heart is with American muscle, from the last 60s, early 70s. But, there is a lot more to see here. And, learn, because many of these owners are very proud of their cars and know the history, from the factory until they put the last mile on last week. I’ll leave you with some more pictures.

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Important Info:

  • $15 admission, kids 12 and under and free. There is a $50 pass that gets you in all weekend.
  • It only goes on over Labor Day weekend. There is another, somewhat smaller auction in the spring.
  • Kids are welcome, but they need to know not to touch the cars. The owners will flip out if they see it.
  • Gates open at 8am, auction starts at 10am.
  • Plan on spending 3 or 4 hours, and that is just to walk the entire grounds. If you want to watch the auction or browse the swap meet, you’ll be there longer.
  • Parking isn’t too bad, but it is in a field. So, if it’s been raining you might want to be careful where you park.

Auctions America, Auburn Fall Auction

Visit Fort Wayne

Just a side note, Auburn is not a very big town. It has a population of about  13,000.  An estimated 300,000 people come into town to buy, sell, and look at the cars. Traffic can be a pain. Usually there is NO traffic, unless you count the cars lining up behind the tractor waiting for a place to pass, and this is a weekend where you can count on traffic jams.

The U.S.S. Cod, A Submarine in Cleveland Ohio

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The U.S.S Cod was a World War II submarine, One of the few large submarines that the US Navy had that was not damaged in Pearl Harbor. It was launched on March 21, 1943.  The Cod made 7 successful war patrols before the end of the war. It was based out of Perth, Australia.

The U.S.S. Cod is 312 ft long, and weighs 1,525 tons.

While the Cod was a very successful submarine, it also holds a place in history as the only submarine to preform an international sub-to-sub rescue ever.

In July of 1945 a Dutch submarine, the O-19 was grounded on a coral outcropping. The Cod spent 2 days trying to pull the O-19 off the reef, breaking several chains in the process.  While the Cod tried to pull the O-19, the O-19 was busy trying to help itself, by putting its engines completely in reverse, blowing the ballast tanks, and firing the torpedoes, hoping that all together, this would pull the submarine loose. It didn’t work. So, the Cod took on the 56 man crew, in addition to the full crew already on the U.S.S. Cod, and then they put demolition charges on the stuck O-19, finishing with shooting 2 torpedoes at it as well, to destroy it so enemy ships couldn’t get to it.

In 2003, the Dutch Navy honored the U.S.S. Cod.

The Cod was removed from service in 1946, only to be recommissioned in 1951 as a part of NATO anti-sub training missions. She was decommissioned again in 1954, but in 1959 was used as a naval reserve training vessel, based in Cleveland, Ohio. The U.S.S Cod quickly became a stop for school children to learn about a bit of history.

Today, the U.S.S. Cod is a war memorial, and a historic landmark. It is the only submarine that allows visitors that had not had ramps built, and holes made in it to allow visitors easier access. If you want to visit, you need to be prepared to enter the hatches and climb down the ladders.

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This is the site that greets you when you enter the U.S.S. Cod. You will be in the forward torpedo room. There are 6 torpedo tubes that will hold 16 torpedoes total. There were 2 types of torpedoes used. The MK-14 and the MK-18. The 14 was faster, but also left a wake, pinpointing the sub’s location. In addition to the torpedo tubes, this room also holds 15 bunks for the sailors.

The next section is the Forward Battery. It holds 126 lead-acid, electric storage batteries. But, it is also where the officer’s areas are. IMG_7446

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The next section is the Control Room. When you enter this section, you will notice it is lit with red lighting. This red light is used at night, so if anyone has to go topside, their eyes will already be adjusted to the darkness.

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This room is where the controls are that power and steer the submarine, as well as control its depth.

The Conning Tower is right above you while you stand in the control room. IMG_7457

The picture is terrible, because you aren’t allowed to climb into the conning tower. You are allowed to climb halfway up the ladder, for a view. But, I’m short. So, my view was just the rungs of the ladder in front of me that they had put plexiglass over.

The conning tower is the attack center. This is where the periscopes are used, it holds the main steering station, as well as the 2 red firing buttons for the torpedoes.

Next is the After Battery Compartment. It holds another set of batteries. But, it also holds the galley and the mess hall for the elicited men. Only 24 men can sit and eat at a time, so each meal requires 3 shifts.

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It was hard to get a decent picture of the space, because it was so small. Now, picture it with a full crew. Up to 97 men filled this submarine, for months at a time.

I found the refrigerator interesting. It is under the floor, so you look down at it. You cannot enter it.IMG_7472

The refrigerator not only held the tons of meat the crew needed, but other perishables. Under the floor is also the ammunitions locker, that doubled as a jail cell for any Japanese prisoners of war they may have.

When you venture out of the mess hall, there is a berthing area.

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On the left, the bunks are stacked, three high and three deep, with no space between side to side. There is a total of 36 bunks in that small space.

Next we have the Forward Engine Room.

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This room holds four 1,600HP diesel engines. The engines were actually made in Cleveland, Ohio. This room also holds 2 freshwater stills.

That’s all the pictures I have of the inside. But, next is the After Engine Room that holds additional generators, for use when necessary.

Then is the Maneuvering Room, the men in this room would control the speed of the Cod using a combination of large levers on one side of the room.

Finally, there was the After Torpedo Room. It holds 4 more torpedo tubes, 15 bunks, a signal flare ejector, and a tiny engineering office. On April 27, 1945 this room caught fire and almost destroyed the submarine. Crewman Andrew G. Johnson was helping to fight the fire when he was washed overboard and drowned.

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Outside the submarine sits a M-14, on the last known, working, WWII Navy torpedo crane truck. It was used to carry torpedoes to the pier, to be loaded by a larger crane.

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More Info:

U.S.S. Cod Home Page

U.S.S. Cod (SS-224)

Historic Navel Ships

Dutch Submarines: The Submarine O 19

Cod Rescues O-19- This is actual video footage of the rescue.

 

Squire’s Castle, History and a Ghost Story

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In northern Ohio, in the North Chagrin Reservation, part of Cleveland’s Metro Parks District, is a castle. Or what looks like a castle. In reality, it is the shell of what was to be the caretaker’s house for a mansion that was never built.

Feargus B. Squire was one of the founders of the Standard Oil company, so he was very wealthy. (At one point, after the castle was built, Squire served a term as mayor of a nearby town.) He owned a home in Cleveland in the late 1800s, but wanted to live in the country. (Which is funny when you think about how it, how much of a city was Cleveland in 1890, especially compared to now?)  Squire bought himself 525 acres of land in a forest, and planned to build a giant estate, intending to live at this estate with his wife and daughter. The home was built from stone, quarried from the property itself.

Before construction on the mansion began, the caretaker’s home was built. It was 2 stories, though there is some speculation there was a basement as well, though you can’t find it now. Squire was going to live there, while the mansion was being built.

The home was supposedly quite beautiful designed after castle is Europe, with Tiffany glass in the windows, carved moldings, and European finishings.

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Mrs Squire, however, hated the country. She had been raised in the city and that was where she wanted to stay.

Legend says that Rebecca Squire would be unable to sleep at night, and would wander the home, holding her lantern. One night, she was startled by one of her husband’s hunting trophies hanging on the wall, she tripped and fell down the stairs to the basement, breaking her neck in the fall that killed her.

Mr Squire was so distraught, he abandoned the property and moved away. But, you can sometimes see a woman in the upstairs window, or a red glow, as is coming from a lantern, moving through the house at night.

The real story is not as interesting, or as tragic.  Mrs. Squire did hate the country, and Mr Squire abandoned the dream of a country estate.  Squire sold the property in 1922, and Cleveland Parks got the property in 1925.

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This is the fireplace that stands in what was once the library.

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When you stand in the library and look out, this is the view of the rest of the castle. There are 2 large rooms you can’t see from the photo, and once there was a second floor, but, the castle had been left to the elements and the 2nd floor deteriorated to the point the parks department removed everything except the shell; there is no roof either. If you believe the legend, Squire had the basement filled in after his wife died. But, others say there never was a basement.

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Can you see it? This castle as it once stood? Perhaps the window was stained glass, blocking the beautiful view. Or perhaps this window by the fireplace was one you could sit by on a winter day, watching the snow pile up around the home. Maybe the floor had furs as coverings, since Squire loved to hunt and show off his skill.

The park is actually open until 11pm, and as the sun goes down, I’m sure you can also see why this abandoned castle has also lent itself to a ghost story.

More Information

Squire’s Castle, Cleveland Metroparks

Squire’s Castle, Travel Cleveland

Squire’s Castle, Wikipedia

Ghosts of the Prairie

Exploring the Cleveland Area, Part 2

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Trying to fit a lot into 2 days, made a busy day 2.

I went to see the submarine the U.S.S. Cod. It is a World War II era submarine. It was actually hard to find. I know you are thinking “How can this giant thing be hard to find”. Well, water doesn’t have much of an address. So, if you want to visit, make your way over to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and if you come in off 9th, the Hall of Fame will be in front of you, turn right. You’ll head towards the Burke Lakefront Airport. It will be on your left, there is a small, gravel parking lot. Parking is free. You will pay your $10 admission at a small booth that looks like the kind you’d find in a carnival to buy tickets to the tilt-a-whirl. Across that sidewalk is the “gift shop” which is a bulletin board with examples of things you can buy. I don’t know where they keep those things though.

You walk up a ramp, and then you are on the submarine. To get into the sub, you go down a hole, with a ladder on the side. So,needless to say, it is not handicap accessible.
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The sub is interesting, there are a lot of signs to tell you about the areas in the sub. There are 4 or 5 audio “tours”. You push the button, and hear about the area you are in. You can sit at a table or lay in a bunk.
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Or, you can pretend to enjoy a cup of coffee.

I really found the kitchen the most interesting part. Just to think about having to cook for that many people in such a tiny space.
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I began to write you out a history of the sub, but it’s really interesting and deserves its own post. So, upcoming is a U.S.S. Cod history post.

After the sub, I decided to go to the Cleveland Museum of Contemporary Art.

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So, I will admit it, but it’s embarrassing. I walked past this museum several times, trying to find it. The GPS was clear, the building LOOKED like a contemporary art museum. But, the only sign is the one on the door. That says “Mocha a la Carte” the hours talk about lunch time. And, there is a small script on the door that says something like “healthy, nourishing” So, I saw this and thought “what a strange restaurant.” and kept walking. Like, 10 minutes later I decided to go in and ask, and wound up in the gift shop.

It was a bit disappointing in my opinion. There were only 2 exhibits. One was by a nun. The Art of Corita Kent. That will be on display until August 31, 2014. Her art is very pop art inspired.

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The next exhibit was Staging Silence by Hans Op De Beeck. There were only 3 photos, but there was a room where a video was shown, and he slowly moved pieces to create beautiful landscapes. This is also on display until the end of August, 2014.

The admission is $8.

Finally, I ended up at Euclid Creek Reservation. I had read there was once an amusement park there, and some parts remained, such as the entrance, and the beach walkway. I drove through the whole park and found several playgrounds and picnic shelters. Also, there were many places to pull of and view the creek. IMG_7525This pretty flowered area is a monarch stop station, designed to draw the butterflies in on their migration.

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There are a lot of beautiful views of the creek, and the park is just as nice as the one previously mentioned.

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There are signs warning you to stay out of the creek. The creek is only a few inches deep, but many people have drown in it because it is really bad about flash flooding because it is surrounded by all the rock, and the creek bed is rock, so when there is a heavy rain, the water has no place to go, except to flood the creek.

I never found the old amusement park markers, and left very disappointed. Once I got home and could do some more research, and not just look on my phone, I found that this particular park has 2 sections. That are oddly far away from each other. I was in the wrong section. Now I know for next time.

Information

U.S.S. Cod- General information about the submarine

Cleveland Museum of Contemporary Art 

Euclid Creek Reservation

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I just thought this was cute, it is the bike rack outside Starbucks.

Summer Time Exploring in Cleveland

This trip was a perfect example of my accidental tourism. I was in Cleveland because my husband was working there. I had no plans and no agenda, so, armed with a full tank of gas, and a charged GPS I set out to see what I could find.

Let me say a couple things about Cleveland. Their Metropark system is AWESOME. Their roads are crap. It is almost like they built a city, and as the number of people outgrew their infrastructure, they just added more. No real rhyme or reason. You end up with two traffic lights, that aren’t timed to each other, within a block. I was trying to get to my hotel, and I got off the interstate, where to get onto my road, I had to make an immediate U-turn, but there was a light halfway through the u-turn. It was weird. I can’t even explain it well. And, because they just randomly add roads, they seem to have run out of names, so Broadway splits and one direction is Broadway and one is Broadway Ave. Another street is Miles Park, the next road is Miles Park Ave. So, if you are not familiar with the area, you will make a lot of wrong turns. A lot. Like, oh, say, 87 in two days.

Day 1, I used Scout Maps, an app on my phone, to look for interesting things to do around there. I found a castle. I tried to find the castle on my regular GPS and I couldn’t. So, I decided to use their GPS. Which delivered me to a very nice neighborhood where a family of 4 was doing landscaping around their ranch home. I suppose on the plus side, instead of an arrow to represent me, it’s a picture of a ’67 Mustang. Which is kind of cool. But not worth getting lost over.

Eventually, I find out that Squire’s Castle is in the North Chagrin Reservation. This is part of Cleveland Metroparks. I was, admittedly, a bit disappointed to find that the castle is right by a parking lot. I had visions of Disney princesses, roaming the dark woods, only to see a dilapidated building peaking through the brush. That was not the case here.

The castle will be it’s own post, because the story is interesting. But, here it is. IMG_7291

I began to go into the woods, but, didn’t go very far. There was a waterfall I was intent on finding as well. The trails are clearly trails, but, wear good shoes. Because, the trails are muddy and in one spot a tree had fallen across, so you will have to climb over. So, while the trails are obvious, they have also been left to nature a bit.

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I continued on, to look for the waterfall. Again, I will praise the parks department. The signs are clear.
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Each trail is color coded, and represented by an animal, so, the waterfall trail is a blue dragonfly.
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The map told of cascading waterfalls and a scenic overlook at Buttermilk Falls. But, I think they perhaps over promised and under-delivered.
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The dragonfly path though was well worth taking, it was only half a mile long but had very pretty views of the creek that lead to Buttermilk Falls.

I then decided to head for Mill Creek Falls, which is it’s own “park”. There is a history center as well. This drive was where I got lost, over and over again. I drove and drove. I finally thought I was getting close, but, I felt I was in a slightly bad area, and a bit nervous. So, my GPS took me down a road that was a dead end. Down a hill, down to some woods. I find a few driveways, but they all say “private, no trespassing” and only seem to lead deeper into the woods. I see the history center. It is a house, and it is closed, in the middle of the afternoon. There is a small parking lot that belongs to some apartment buildings, but I pull in anyway. I can HEAR something, but, surely this can’t be the waterfall. I mean, that tiny trickle had a hundred signs directing you. This has NOTHING. So, I begin to head toward the noise, and begin to realize how much this sounds like the beginning of a horror movie. I continue on anyway. There is a path in the trees that I take, when I find this sign
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I continue toward the noise, and all of a sudden a really nice staircase is in front of me. Just call me Alice (In Wonderland), because it said “take me” so I did. I walked down the stairs. To find this
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A 48 foot tall waterfall. There is no one around, at all. There are benches to sit on and enjoy the spot though, so I did.

and that is the end of day 1.

Information
North Chagrin Reservation- This park houses Squire’s Castle. It also has a nature center, and a gold course. There are trails for horseback riding and even a place to park and truck with a trailer to unload your horses. They allow fishing. And, you can download a PDF of the trails before you go, from the website.

Squire’s Castle-This is a short little blurb about the castle.

Cleveland Metroparks- This is all the information for all the parks. There is no way I could make it to all of them on my limited time!

Mill Creek Falls- The information on this site is about as sparse as the how to get there info! It is located near Garfield park Reservation.

Photo Friday- Boston Chipotle

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Photo Friday, where the picture makes the story. This was supposed to be a quick post, but as I began trying to find the information to give you, it became very interesting. And, really, this is one of the reasons for the blog. So enjoy reading about a restaurant and history.

We were in Boston last month. That is going to require a few posts on its own. It seems every turn you take, you see something historical, but miss 2 things for the turn you didn’t take.

For example, one evening Brad and I decided to go to Chipotle. The restaurant is in an old building.
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Once you order, you can go upstairs. That section was added later, so the stairway is on the outside of the old building. The wall you see in the first photo was built in 1718. The United States didn’t even exist yet!

This building was once known as the Old Corner Bookstore. It was also once home of a printing press, where the first editions of The Scarlett Letter, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and Walden were printed.

It was the first building to be saved by Historic Boston, it had been scheduled for demolition in the 1960s.

Repurposing these building is called “adaptive reuse”. It has been used multiple times in Boston with great success.

If you are ever in Boston, go have lunch in a 300 yr old bookstore. It’s pretty cool.

Chipotle Moving to Historic Boston Building

I found this in my search, which while not about travel, is about adaptive reuse and how it may be facing opponents.
Saving the Plant, One Old Building at a Time

The sign on the outside of the building, giving a brief history.
The sign on the outside of the building, giving a brief history.

Niagara Butterfly Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

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My American readers will need their passports for this one, but it’s worth it.

The Butterfly Conservatory is located in Canada, just north of Niagara Falls. There are over 2000 butterflies flying around.

You will enter a large dome, where the butterflies fly around freely. The signs say not to touch, but, the butterflies do what they want, and it isn’t hard to hold them. Be careful though!IMG_4453

There are about 45 species located in the conservatory. And, they are all beautiful, but some are more so than others. I don’t know what you are all used to seeing, around here we have lots of orange and/or white butterflies. The greens and blues there were beautiful.

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Interestingly, the butterflies are not able to reproduce in the dome. This is done on purpose, so they don’t overcrowd the area. The butterflies will only lay eggs on certain food sources, so those flowers and plants are kept out of the dome.

You can walk the conservatory at your own pace, and read the signs as you wish. The employees are helpful and informative.

My son did find out, if you spill syrup on yourself at breakfast, then go to the conservatory, you will end up with lots of company. :)

NEED TO KNOW:

  • Probably not a good place for small children, or kids who may be creeped out by things crawling on them. Lots of kids crying there, and even my 10 yr old got a bit overwhelmed when the 10th butterfly landed on him.
  • It is $13.50 (Canadian) to get in for adults, and $8.80 for children 6-12. Under 6 is free.
  • Parking is $5, but if you plan to go back, there is an annual parking pass for $10. They only take cash at the gate, but luckily they will take American.
  • Plan on maybe 2 hours, tops, to walk the whole dome. It isn’t a huge place (600 ft of pathways), but you might want to wait around for the perfect picture.
  • The hours are varied throughout the year, so check before you go.
  • The parking lot is shared with the Botanical Conservatory, so, that $5 is for both attractions.

Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens

The botanical gardens surround the Butterfly Conservatory. They are free to enter, but parking is $5.

The gardens span over 100 acres, and are cared for by the students of the school of horticulture that is located on site. There are also several water features.

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They are beautiful to look at, and on a nice day you could easily spend several hours walking a couple miles. There is a rose garden boasting over 2,400 roses.

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The paths are easy to walk, and there are horse drawn carriage rides for a fee if you really want to sit back and enjoy the view. I did not check while I was there, but a couple websites say the carriage rides are $18.

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I went in early May and again in July. It is definitely prettier in July, but if you are at the Butterfly Conservatory anyway, wander the gardens and see what you find.

If you are there without a car, or don’t wish to worry about parking, the bus does stop right out front.

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Helpful links

Niagara Parks-Hours, admission, general information for the butterfly conservatory

Niagara Parks-same info, but for the botanical gardens. This also includes a link to download the app, which will take you on a guided walking tour of the gardens. Free wi-fi is available at the gardens.

Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory- Information about the conservatory, it is actually a really interesting read.

Fact Sheet- This is facts about the botanical gardens.

Whirlpool State Park- Need to Know

This is not a park. There are few benches, and no water fountains. You come here to hike and take pretty pictures.

It is free.

Do:

  • Wear good shoes. I had on Walmart tennis shoes, and my feet hurt so badly when we were done, from the jagged rocks on the trail poking the bottom of the shoes.
  • Bring water! We made a terrible mistake and didn’t bring it. So, we were quite dehydrated when we finally climbed out of the gorge.
  • Wear sunscreen and bug spray.
  • Watch out for snakes.
  • Take out anything you bring in!
  • Take your time and be careful.

Don’t:

  • Don’t get in the water. The whirlpool and the rapids are incredibly dangerous. If you live through your adventure, you will be prosecuted.
  • Don’t eat any plants, there are some that look like onions, but are poisonous.
  • Don’t take anything out with you. Leave plants and fossils there.
  • Don’t feed the animals.

The park is open, year round from dawn to dusk. There are restrooms in the welcome center, but they are only open April-October.

There is a playground and picnic tables. Taking a lunch is a great idea, but, take your trash out with you.

You can fish, and the few other visitors we saw there had brought fishing poles.

I, personally, wouldn’t bring anyone here who is under the age of 8 or so. But, I happen to have a very athletic 8 yr old who hates people but likes walking. 10 is probably a better guideline. Because you will be walking miles, and  climbing up and down rocks.

After writing that, I went looking for more information, and found the Niagara Falls State Park website. They agree, no one under the age of 8 should be on these trails.

For More Information:

Visit Buffalo Niagara- This has information, the actual address, a phone number and a map.

Niagara Whirlpool- History and information about the river and the whirlpool.

New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, & Historic Preservation- This actually is the site for the park, so there is a lot of information available.

 

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