Niagara Falls, Buffalo, NY area - Things to do?

The family is taking a vacation to the Niagara Falls area, NY only no Canada for us thanks to more border restrictions.

Other than the obvious what are some other cool things and activities in that area and within the distance it takes to get to Buffalo that we can do, geared towards family (kids and adults). One thing we are definitely planning is the boat ride around the falls. Physical outdoors activities are good like zip line, bike rental and paths etc.

What are the best Pizza and Buffalo wing places around there?

What are some other good restaurants we should check out?

Thanks,
REIUSAAsked:
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dhsindyRetired considering supplemental income.Commented:
This website should get you started.  I have never been there but it is a major city and should have about anything you want to do:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g60974-Activities-Buffalo_New_York.html
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nickg5Commented:
They have:
Walkways allow visitors to get right up-close to the falls or you can take the famed 'Maid of the Mist' boat tour to the foot of both falls.

The Buffalo Zoological Gardens are well-known for being one of America's oldest and most loved zoos and date back to 1875. With more than 1000 different animal species living in natural habitats, other attractions at the zoo include landscaped gardens, feeding demonstrations and train rides.
http://www.buffalo.world-guides.com/buffalo_attractions.html

and:
You will only be 50-75 miles from Canada, if you are travelling by car.
Visting there may be a nice event for your kids.

Buffalo has:
art galleries
Botanical Garden
Buffalo Harbor Cruise
http://travel.yahoo.com/p-travelguide-2857646-buffalo_things_to_do-i

Toronto has:
The Toy Shop
Famous Restaurants
The World's Biggest Book Store
Royal Ontario Museum
Toronto Zoo
http://travel.yahoo.com/p-travelguide-2802973-toronto_things_to_do-i
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aleghartCommented:
Maid of the Mist isn't as good as you might think.  I saw far more by standing at the rail above the falls.

On the boat (as a kid), all I saw was the backsides of a bunch of old, wet people.  And we all smelled like old socks.   The sound of the falls up close was impressive.  But I can get spritzed and pushed around just about anywhere.

The loudspeaker narration (from what little I can remember understanding) was not as good as just reading the signage, a brochure, book, or watching a short movie.

I thought the display showing people in barrels who had navigated the falls was great.  Was not inspired to follow them, but they definitely had guts.
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Thibault St john Cholmondeley-ffeatherstonehaugh the 2ndCommented:
>Maid of the Mist isn't as good as you might think
It was just as I expected, huge noise from the water and you get just a little closer than you think is safe. Yes there are lots of wet old people in front of you and make sure you put your camera in a clear plastic bag - it still works through the plastic although everything is quite misty.
We stayed on the Canadian side which has plenty of things to do if you like funfairs. There was also a film and exhibition about the falls, how they have moved back up river, pictures of the ice bridge and stories of young women sailing over them in canoes.
We crossed the bridge on foot and I only remember having to show a passport and pay a few dollars, we are from the UK so I don't know how that affects border restrictions. Crossed over to get a T-Shirt from the Hard Rock Cafe, there is a HRC on both sides of the falls so I wanted two. HRC is usually a good place to eat.
The American side was nice and quiet and restored back to the way nature probably intended, no fairground stuff, although I would expect that something must be available a bit further from the water.
A little way downstream there was a cable car running across the river, but it wasn't open when we were there.
You can spend hours just watching the water, nice place for a picnic and there are some islands to explore right at the top of the falls (USA side), a place to buy a hamburger etc.
There was an almost perpetual hot air balloon rising on the US side, obviously for sightseeing, but we only saw it from the falls.
A nice place to visit, enjoy your stay.
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REIUSAAuthor Commented:
Thanks for all the info. Unfortunately everyone going doesn't have a passport. Now days is it possible to go to the Canada side without a passport?
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nickg5Commented:
I'm sure the Canadians will want proper identification and a passport is a worldwide ID system. It's better than a driver's license.
A couple of the links above, have a list of alot of Buffalo things to do.
Toronto was just a remote suggestion, since the miles from Buffalo to Canada are so small.
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nickg5Commented:
http://gocanada.about.com/od/canadatraveloverview/qt/uscitizenborder.htm

Since June 2009, everyone from every country arriving in Canada by air, land and sea has needed a passport or equivalent travel document.

>>>> (Some exceptions apply to children's passport requirements).
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REIUSAAuthor Commented:
OK, thanks for the info.
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