Good evening. We spent the whole day sightseeing at Niagara Falls. The boys woke up and had some breakfast before loading the bus for Skylon Tower. Skylon Tower looks much like Seattle’s Space Needle, with its tall, slender, cylindrical frame supporting a huge observation deck. The deck stands 775 feet in the air overlooking the spectacular Niagara Falls. One boy couldn’t stop telling me how nervous he was to go up the elevator of the tall edifice. He wanted to know as many details as he could get from me about it; unfortunately, I didn’t know many details. He did ask me if it was a mile in the air, and THAT I did know. “No, it’s definitely not a mile in the air”. Needless to say he braved the elevator’s ascent, and came out victorious at the summit.
Skylon Tower also has three levels to it. The large circular structure at the top is more than just an observation deck. There are three levels: the Revolving Dining Room, the Summit Suite Buffet, and the Indoor/Outdoor Observation deck. We had lunch in the Summit Suite. The food was extravagant. The salad bar (which the boys went for first) was filled with all kinds for salads: cole slaw, fruit, potato, and ceviche. The main entrees included prime rib, asian noodles, fried fish, mussels, and calamari. I was surprised to see so many boys trying and enjoying the “exotic” seafood. Some had never had mussels before. Others weren’t as adventurous as the others; they returned from the buffet with plates full of chicken fingers and fries.
After lunch, we took the boys to the observation deck just above the Summit Suite. They were blown away by the grand view of Niagara Falls. Skylon Tower is situated perfectly for an outstanding view of the majestic wonder. The boys circled around the whole tower, taking in the sights. For all the rainy and overcast days we experienced, today had the most perfect weather for sightseeing. They were in awe for the whole time they were up there.
It started at lunch and continued throughout the day: impromptu conversations with strangers. I love watching the boys have conversations with random people who are simply curious about them. It may just be me, but it seems to be more often on this tour. Today a man sat down with a group of boys to chat with them before lunch. While we were exiting the observation deck, a lady asked the boys about their tour. And you read last night’s blog: some of the boys were chatting with a man in the breakfast room of their hotel that morning. When I was a boy I would’ve NEVER carried on a conversation with an adult, much less started one nor knew what to say.
Skylon Tower was only the first thing on the boys’ itinerary today. This afternoon they got to ride on the most dangerous rapids of North American with Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours. Before loading on the speedy orange boat, they were asked to sing for the staff, having found out they were a choir. (When they sing for others outside of their typical performance setting, it’s always special and never gets old.) Then they loaded the boat. Donned with lemon yellow windbreakers, life jackets, and water shoes they started their adventure. Most of them had never been on a jet boat before, and one of them was nervous about it. He too wanted to find out every detail of the boat before we entered it. He wanted to make sure it was safe, he feared it’d capsize. But after the first “Hamilton” (360 degree turn), his fears immediately dissipated and he completely enjoyed the ride. As is the case there were other boys who couldn’t wait for the adventure. When we approached our first rapid, he let out his war cry, “Come at me, Water!”. The boys got drenched on the boat. There was no dry seat on the boat; and there was no frowning face at the end of the joyride. The Whirlpool Jet Boat Tour may be the boys’ favorite tour event yet.
Dinner was at an in-hotel restaurant called East Side Mario’s, much like Olive Garden. There was a man dining there at the same time, and before he left he stopped by the staff table to ask “How do you do it? How do you get so many boys to be so good? This was the best experience I’ve had with a large group of kids in a restaurant.” We thanked him for his compliment, and when he left Aaron commented to us “The tradition continues”.
Today was certainly an adventure of “boy things”, and it ended with the “Journey Behind the Falls”. Under the main visitor centre of Niagara Falls the boys entered tunnels that lead to two separate portals. These portals were like open-ended hallways, and at the end of each hallway was literally the Niagara Falls. The boys watched millions of gallons of water rush down in front of them. They were behind the Falls, up close and personal. The portals were the first half of the self-guided tour. The next half was an observation deck that got you as close to the Falls as you could get. Protected from the mist by yellow ponchos, the boys enjoyed watching the Niagara Falls just a few feet away from them.
Now they are dry and warm in their hotel rooms, resting for the another lengthy bus trip of tour. Tomorrow they travel to Merrimack, New Hampshire to start another series of concerts in the States. Our Canadian visit ends, and the second half of our tour begins.