Niagara Falls has a brand new attraction. Where once, this was something you could only catch a glimpse of during the once-a-year Doors Open, the Niagara Parks Power Station is now finally open to the public where you'll be able to delve into the history, engineering, and science, while marvelling and the thrilling revival.
There are two ways to see the station, either during the day or night. Having done both, let me breakdown the differences between the guided tour and Currents: Niagara's Power Transformed show.
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Here's what we're covering:
- The Niagara Parks Power Station Attraction
- Review of Niagara Parks Power Station
- Frequently asked questions
The Niagara Parks Power Station Attraction
About the historic Niagara Parks Power Station
One of the most important stories of Niagara, Ontario, and Canada is one of harnessing the power of the Niagara River and the human ingenuity to build something so massive and complex out of basic tools.
Through the patents from Nikola Tesla and other inventions from that era, construction of the plant completed in 1905 and began distributing electricity to Fort Erie in 1907. It wasn't until 2006 when the facility was shut down.
As Ontario's first green energy project, this truly paved the way for hydro power to be a mainstay of how we receive electricity even today. There's a reason why, as someone from Toronto, we say “I just received my hydro bill”. Hydro generation is a big part of who we are as a province.
The historic Niagara Parks Power Station is located near the crest of the Horseshoe Falls of Niagara Falls on the Canadian side.
After Niagara Parks received the plant back after the lease expired in 2009, work started in 2017 to find an adaptive reuse of the space. To ensure its safety, the building underwent extensive renovation to repair damage and also incorporation of interpretive and interactive experiences throughout the main floor in collaboration with Science North.
Outside of the power station is also a brand new Power Plaza with a garden, benches, and a large exciter on display.
Fast forward to 2021 and now the station is open to the public with both daytime and nighttime experiences available.
Two ways to see the Niagara Parks Power Station
Currently there are two primary ways to see the Niagara Parks Power Station.
One is during the day when the generator floor will be open for exploration. The other is at night with a show called Currents: Niagara's Power Transformed, an immersive multimedia experience.
Daytime power station experience
In the daytime, the Niagara Parks Power Station is open for visitors to come and walk the entirety of the ground generator floor. In this landmark attraction, history comes to life.
All of the equipment has been preserved and left intact, providing you with an authentic look at how a hydroelectric power plant built in 1905 worked with its heavy machinery and workers behind the scenes.
Over the length of the main hall, you'll be immediately drawn to the large blue-topped alternators. Following along, you'll encounter numerous large interpretive signs that tells you the story of the power station from the science to its rich history and cultural significance.
Key themes that you'll find are:
- Place – History and Geography
- Plant – Architecture and Construction
- Harnessing the “True Power” of the Falls
- Power – Science, Technology & Innovation
Scattered throughout the floor are interactive educational experiences that were designed by Science North from Sudbury that are extremely well done.
- Follow the Flow – Giant 3D model that shows a cross section of the plant with digital displays of how water flowed through.
- Take Control – Power station training game through gesture activated screens to help solve problems you might encounter as a worker.
- Experience the Rush – Walk through a penstock to get a sense of how much water was forcefully rushed into the building.
Throughout, you'll also find QR codes on various signs which are all part of the browser-based app that'll help expand on story panels. For instance, you can scan to learn more what's behind the locked grate or cabinet.
While you can explore the station on your own, they also offer guided tours (45 minutes). In a small group, you'll be taken through the plant where your guide will explain key areas of the plant, share its history, and point out spots you should come back to. Once you're done, you'll be able to continue on your own.
Lastly, there's a gift shop located in the forebay area of the power station. This is where water gets drawn into the station but part of it has been filled in to open up a new space next to the main hall. Here, you'll find repurposed fixtures and equipment to create display areas for various souvenirs and merchandise.
Note that there is no time limit or specific entry times when buying your ticket.
Overall, you'll find that the day tour of the power station is incredibly educational, fun, and awe inspiring.
Nighttime Currents immersive light show
The nighttime experience is completely different. Currents: Niagara's Power Transformed is a multimedia experience that features LED lighting effects, sound effects, projection technology, and reactive technology produced by Thinkwell's Montreal Studio.
Immediately, when you arrive into the station, you'll notice the blue waves of light above you, creating a false ceiling that almost makes it feel like you're under water.
You'll be guided into the gift shop in the forebay where you'll wait for the show the start. With your tickets in hand, get scanned and walk into the central part of the Niagara Parks Power Station.
The floors and walls are lit with ethereal projections of water and animation. Walk the space encapsulated by 3 giant alternators and you'll notice that the light seems to follow you around. This is no accident because they have technology that can track everyone on the floor and react to your movements.
The show officially starts with the start of their LA-recorded film score and this is when you'll see everything from the walls, floor, ceiling, and alternators come to life.
There are 3 acts to the performance:
- The Beginning
- Harnessing the Power
- Reawakening the Station
Without giving too much away, I encourage you to walk around, look everywhere, spot moments when the environment reacts to where you are, and feel the historic power station come back to life.
The best comparison is with something like the recent Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit and Beyond Monet however what sets it aside is that it is a much more captivating show because it incorporates the surrounding space versus projecting on walls, the music score is riveting, and takes you through journey.
The performance from entry to exit is 45 minutes but the actual light show is just a bit over 20 minutes.
Something worth nothing is that purchasing tickets to Currents is for the show only. After the show is over, you won't be able to walk the floor of the power station. Treat this as performance instead of a museum tour.
Also, the light show doesn't take place the entire length of the generator floor. It is focused on the middle 3 alternator turbines.
Tickets for the Niagara Parks Power Station
There are distinctly two different ways to see the Niagara Parks Power Station but there are actually quite a number of types of tickets that can be purchased that's worth breaking down.
All ticket prices are pre-tax so add 13% HST to the total. Children aged 5 and under are free.
- Power Station Admission – Adult $20 / Child $13
- Power Station + Guided Tour – Adult $37 / Child $24
- Currents: Niagara's Power Transformed – Adult $30 / Child $19.50
Daytime and Nighttime Tickets
- Night Show Package (Power Station + Currents) – Adult $40 / Child $26
- Guided Tour + Night Show Package – Adult $54 / Child $35
Combination with other Niagara Parks attractions
The Niagara Parks Power Pass is a great combination that includes two excellent daytime experiences so if you were planning on doing both anyways, consider picking this one up.
- Niagara Parks Power Pass – Includes Niagara Parks Power Station daytime admission and Journey Behind the Falls – Adult $37 / Child $24 / Family Bundle $139 (2 adults, 2 children, parking)
The parking lot officially known as Falls Parking (Lot A) is adjacent to the Niagara Parks Power Station and the drop-in rate is $30 (total) which gives you access to all Niagara Parks lots for the day.
You can purchase a daily parking pass online for $26.55 which looks like a discount but is really just $30 after tax. That said, this will save you some time because you would've prepaid for it.
Reserving your tickets is highly recommended
5 reasons why you should see the Niagara Parks Power Station
Debating whether you should include this in your Niagara Falls itinerary or not, here are a few things to think about to convince you.
- To my knowledge, this station is the only one you can tour inside in Ontario.
- Currents: Niagara's Power Transformed is a feast for the senses and just incredibly well done. Worth every penny.
- Walk through over 115 years of history and see it meticulously preserved.
- You don't have to be an engineer to understand how a power station works. Thanks to the guided tour and interactive displays, it's easy to understand.
- Hydro power from the Niagara River is an integral part of Niagara's past, present, and future and this gives you an opportunity to see it firsthand.
Top tips for visiting the power station
Having done both the daytime and nighttime Currents show, here are a few tips I'd recommend for your Niagara power plant tour.
- Plan to be here at least 3-4 hours if you want to not only do the guided tour but also see all the artifacts, read the interpretive signs, and try the interactive activations.
- Purchase the day and night combo so you can do both experiences in a day.
- A great combination with the Niagara Parks Power Station is the Journey Behind the Falls, and dinner at Table Rock House Restaurant.
- It is cheaper to buy Journey Behind the Falls and the Currents and Day Tour package than it is to buy the Power Pass and Currents.
- At Currents, pay attention to the floor and how it reacts to your movements.
- I encourage you to move around when at Currents and pay attention to the wall, the alternator, and the floor.
Review of Niagara Parks Power Station
Over the years we've built our own 3 day Niagara itinerary packed with adventures with highlights like White Water Walk and Niagara Glen. We also revisited for our fall colours video we also had a chance to ride on the Whirlpool Aerocar which was a delight.
All of the attractions I've done so far as part of Niagara Parks have been around for some time and so when I learned about the new Niagara Parks Power Station, I couldn't help but feel excited for something brand new but also ironically so old at the same time.
To me, coming to see the power station during the day and then coming back for Currents night show is a duality of experiences that really blend well together.
Ground generator floor review
First, starting off with our guided tour, I was fascinated with every angle, artifact, interactive display, and micro details. I think if we were there on my own, we would've felt overwhelmed but having a guide take us through the key parts of the storytelling and facts helped ground the visit and give us a really good idea of why this station is so significant.
As an engineer-by-education, I appreciated how they were able to take complex concepts and make them easily digestible through their series of displays and in particular the Follow the Flow model that shows where the water comes in and out.
I think you could easily spend 3 hours and 2 hours if you're on a tight schedule. There's that much to see!
Currents: Niagara's Power Transformed review
This show is something I've simply never seen before. It's a dazzling bombardment of the senses where you feel like you are part of the performance.
The coolest part are the points in the show where the projections seemingly follow you and everyone else around. Technology deployed at this level is unheard of.
When they say that the station comes to life, it's no joke. From the freezing of the Ice Age, lush landscapes painted on the walls and floors, the swirling of lights around the giant alternators, a TRON-like moment, and animated characters peeking out the windows, it all felt so real.
And that's the thing, this is a show that will give you serious goosebumps because you absolutely feel every moment of the show unfolding around you.
Beyond the incredible projections, the musical score is equally as impressive and blockbuster movie-quality.
Which experience is better?
What I really want to say is that you really need to do both experiences because there's almost no crossover in what you'll see and do.
If I had to choose, I'd have to say the daytime experience of the ground generator floor. I loved being able to get right up close to the equipment, getting an appreciation fo Nikola Tesla's work, the current wars between AC and DC, the massive undertaking to not just build but keep the station running, and also the industrial heritage that you won't find anywhere else.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Address: 7005 Niagara Parkway, L2E 6T2
Hours: Open Monday to Sunday
- Power Station – 10AM – 5PM
- Currents – 6:30PM – 9:30PM (shows are hourly on the half-hour)
Parking: Enter the Falls Parking (Lot A) off of Fraser Hill.
Frequently asked questions
I'm sure you have a few questions about the experience so let's get into the important ones that the official page doesn't make too clear.
2 hours at a minimum but 3 hours is recommended.
It is 45 minutes although the website states it is 60 minutes.
The official running time is 45 minutes but the actual light show is 20 minutes.
No, all adults 13 and up are the same price.
There is no free parking. The on-site parking is $30 but provides unlimited access to all Niagara Parks parking lots.
The only pass the includes the power station is the Niagara Power Pass.
Masks are required indoors, maximum capacities are reduced to allow for physical distancing, and cleaning stations are scattered throughout.
Yes, the attraction is fully accessible and barrier-free.
Yes, this is a safe and fun attraction for the whole family with plenty of space to explore and interactive experiences to try. For the Currents night show, note that smoke machines are used and there may be bright lights.
A section of the power station floor is sectioned off specifically for the show. You will not be able to walk around the ground floor freely.
Yes there are benches scattered throughout the generator floor. There are also tables and chairs by the gift shop. For Currents, seating is limited to a 2 benches at the back.
There is a brief rest inside the forebay area near the gift shop before the show starts so you only need to arrive on time for the show.
Yes, photos and videos are allowed in both the daytime and nighttime during Currents. Tripods are not allowed for safety.
Currently, no food or beverages are sold inside the power station but there are future plans to do so. No outside food and beverages are allowed.
They are completely different which is why I recommend that you see both. The day time tour allows you to thoroughly see the power station and learn its history, story, and science while Currents is a transformative and immersive multimedia show that is a grand performance that matches the scale of the space.
No, this is an old product that is not sold anymore because it's been rebranded to the Niagara Falls Pass.
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