Exploring Bird Kingdom, Niagara Falls – with video

by GO GlobeHopper

Ontario seems like an unlikely place to find a rainforest full of gorgeous tropical birds, reptiles, and amphibians.  Most folks would expect to travel much farther south for such a spectacle. But indeed it exists within North America’s largest indoor free-flying aviary known as Bird Kingdom in Niagara Falls.

The facility is within walking distance to Clifton Hill and just a few seconds from the Rainbow Bridge to the USA.

Set inside a four-story building that once housed a corset company, visitors will find 45,000 square feet of sheer beauty. The route starts with Explorer’s Base Camp where guests can experience hands-on encounters with a selection of parrots and reptiles. An old Jeep and an African-themed camp provide a safari-like backdrop for encounter photos with iguanas, python snakes, and beautiful parrots.  Then explore a small, caged aviary where the tiniest of birds flutter delicately about their space.  A vast selection of colorful finches, tanagers, doves, and waxtails move so swiftly that it’s almost impossible to line up a good photo. So be sure to take a camera that can effectively capture action shots. Afterward, visit the Night Jungle to witness owls and bats.

⦿ To watch our Top 10 Things to do in Niagara Falls video (including Bird Kingdom), visit our YouTube channel HERE and use the highest quality playback settings. Or, keep reading for more information and photos.

The main aviary is a picture taker’s paradise set against a backdrop of waterfalls, palm trees, and tropical foliage, with wide pathways that wind through a scene reminiscent of a long-lost jungle empire. Housed within are 200 vibrant birds representing 40 different species, primarily from South America, Africa, and Australia, all of which fly and wander freely through the aviary and perch on various landings, be it bridges, railings, or within the plants and trees.  Also contained within the space is a Javanese House from 1875 (Javanese with a ‘v’ is the correct spelling), the only one of its kind in North America.

Off to the side is a caged area called Lorikeet Landing for an interactive encounter. This includes feeding the lorikeets while inside their enclosure as they land on the visitors by the dozens, providing fun and interesting photo opportunities. Smaller children and nervous participants should be accompanied as the experience can feel a little overwhelming with so many hungry birds in a virtual ‘flap’.

As a word of warning, don’t go dressed too warmly since the aviary maintains a temperature of 76 degrees Fahrenheit, and with the indoor waterfalls and rainforest atmosphere, it can be humid as you wander around. The temperature increases significantly throughout the summer months due to the presence of the glass ceiling and oversized windows, which draw heat. Luckily, there are plenty of benches strategically placed throughout the aviary where visitors can sit and simply admire the surroundings. We found that it was during these moments of our stillness that the birds were the most likely to approach.

The average self-guided tour of Bird Kingdom takes approximately one to two hours depending on how much you linger and take photos, perhaps a bit longer if you include the gift shop and the cafe in your explorations. But if at the end of your adventure you discover that you want more of this type of tropical environment, consider Niagara Parks’ Butterfly Conservatory, which is only 9 minutes away and is sure to be relaxing as well as awe-inspiring. 

Up-to-date ticket prices and hours can be found on the Bird Kingdom website HERE.


Photo Credits:
Green-winged Macaw – Gary J. Wood – Flickr (https://bit.ly/3xrq0J5). License: CC BY-SA 2.0
Javanese House – Clifton Hill.com


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