10 Fun Facts About Niagara Falls

10 Fun Facts About Niagara Falls

What else do you know about Niagara Falls, besides that it’s a must-see natural wonder? Do you know about the wildlife? Or how many people jumped in? Check out some fun facts that may surprise you.

For decades, Niagara Falls attracted tourists from all over the world. Now, the waterfalls see a combined eight million tourists each year. And that’s not even counting many of the locals that drop by for a visit.

A truly awe-inspiring experience, a trip to Niagara Falls is always worth taking. But here’s what you probably didn’t know about it.

Fun Fact #1 – It’s a Collection of Three Waterfalls

While most people refer to it as Niagara Falls, it’s actually made of three waterfalls. There are the American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls that sit on the American side of the border. And on the Canadian side, there’s the Horseshoe Falls, which is also the largest of the group. 

So when people ask you where is Niagara Falls located? Ask them which falls in particular.

Fun Fact #2 – It’s Not That Tall

Many people ask how tall is Niagara Falls. It’s a valid question, to which the answer always surprises. There are at least 10 other waterfalls much taller than any of the three on the Niagara River.

Bridal Veil has the highest drop at 616 feet. The more popular spot, Horseshoe Falls, has a drop of just 165 feet. The former is also the smallest of the three waterfalls. By comparison, the world’s tallest waterfall has a vertical drop of 11,500 feet.

Fun Fact #3 – The US Army “Turned Off” the Falls

Back in 1969, the US Army Corps of Engineers studied the effects of erosion. And they did that by cutting off the water supply to the two drops on the American side.

If you visited Niagara Falls back then, you could only see the Horseshoe Falls on the border’s Canadian side. Both the American and Bridal Veil Falls didn’t have any water. Supposedly, there are plans to redo the experiment, only this time to rebuild some bridges.

Fun Fact #4 – Experiencing Niagara Falls in a Barrel

Here’s one of the fun facts about Niagara Falls you probably didn’t know: the first person to ever survive a trip over the falls in a barrel did so on her birthday.

Her name was Annie Edson Taylor, and she turned 63 years old on the day she pulled the stunt. In 1989, a pair of people survived a similar stunt, only as a team barrel act. Over the years, people have jumped, plunged, and walked the falls in various ways.

Fun Fact #5 – It Doesn’t Freeze

Niagara Falls history shows that contrary to popular belief, the water doesn’t freeze during the winter. 

It’s possible, however, that the water flow can become significantly reduced – it happened in 1848. But that was only due to an ice jam upstream on the Niagara River. Neither falls freeze in the winter, which is why you can see the majestic natural wonder all year round.

Fun Fact #6 – The 8th Wonder of the world

There are still only seven wonders of the world, and many others battle it out for the eighth position. And Niagara Falls is one of those.

While it’s not the tallest or largest, it’s nothing short of spectacular. It’s unique geography and immense water flow is what makes it so impressive. With every second, over 3,160 tons of water flow over Niagara Falls.

The water falls at an amazing speed, too. Horseshoe Falls sees the water hit the bottom at 32 feet per second with a force of 2,509 tons.

Fun Fact #7 – Niagara Falls Have Controlled Flow Rates

What visitors see during the day is not the same sight they would see at night. Niagara Falls generates over four million kilowatts of electricity. Yet a treaty put in place decades ago enforces the reduction of the water flow during the night.

As a result, there’s additional flow into the power plant during the night. This maintains a steady supply of water for power generation. As such, visitors can see Niagara Falls in all its splendor during the day without any drawbacks to power generation.

Fun Fact #8 – A Cushion for Fish

One of the fun facts about Niagara Falls concerns aquatic life. Fish go over the falls every day. But unlike some people that don’t make it after plunging, around 90% of fish survive the drop.

They do so thanks to the white foam at the bottom. The foam that’s created from the forceful drop provides a nice cushion for the fish. It’s also a known fact that fish in the area evolved and adapted to the high pressure of the falls.

Fun Fact #9 – You May Be Drinking Niagara Falls Water

Niagara Falls provides excitement and electricity. But it also provides around 20% of drinking water used in the United States.

The other 80% of North America’s surface freshwater comes from the surrounding Great Lakes.

Fun Fact #10 – It’s a Rather Young Waterfall

Among other interesting facts about Niagara Falls is its age. The earliest indicators of the waterfall date back around 12,000 years. It may seem like a lot to you, but from a geological standpoint, that’s nothing impressive.

Compared to other natural wonders created over the years, Niagara Falls is very young.

Fun Fact #11 – The Water Comes from Four Lakes

The Niagara River gets its water and flow rate from four of the Five Great Lakes, Michigan, Erie, Superior, and Huron lakes, that drain into the river. Thus, Niagara Falls have such powerful drops and a fast water flow.

At the end of the line, you have Lake Ontario. All these five lakes combined account for a massive amount of freshwater – around one-fifth of the world’s entire supply of freshwater, in fact.

Bring Your Umbrella

You’ve probably seen this before – tourists and news crews soaked in water. That does happen when you get too close to the action. If you want to get as close as possible to the drop at any waterfall, bring a poncho and an umbrella.

It’s wet and cold no matter what time of the year you visit Niagara Falls due to the tons of water and force of the drops.

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10 Fun Facts About Niagara Falls