Our summer road trips are our favorite time of year! And what a blessing it was to be able to take my California kids on a tour of The Great Lakes on a recent summer trip. I grew up fishing on Lake Erie and in love with all things Great Lakes. Those beautiful freshwater lakes hold a very special place in my heart.
Niagara Falls is a childhood memory I had and couldn’t wait to share with my own kids.
Located in our country’s oldest state park, North America’s largest waterfall resides in the Niagara Falls State Park. Did you know that Niagara Falls is actually three separate water falls? The Horseshoe is the Canadian Falls, The American and Bridal Veil Falls are the other two. Three of the Great Lakes (Superior, Huron, and Michigan) drain into Lake Erie, which in turn drains into the Niagara River. The River then plummets into Lake Ontario via the Falls.
Niagara Falls dumps 150,000 U.S. Gallons / 567,811 Liters per second. Per. Second. And currently, the Niagara Falls energy plant generates 2.4 million kilowatts of power and is the fourth largest hydroelectric power plant in the United States.
The sound of the falls is something you can hear far before you see it. Here’s a few facts about the Falls, from NiagaraFallsStatePark.com:
- 3,160 tons of water flows over Niagara Falls every second. This accounts for 75,750 gallons of water per second over the American and Bridal Veil Falls and 681,750 gallons per second over the Horseshoe Falls.
- The water falls at 32 feet per second over the Falls, hitting the base of the Falls with 280 tons of force at the American and Bridal Veil Falls and 2,509 tons of force at the Horseshoe Falls.
- Niagara Falls is capable of producing over 4 million kilowatts of electricity, which is shared by the United States and Canada.
- Four of the five Great Lakes (Superior, Michigan, Huron, and Erie) drain into the Niagara River before emptying into Lake Ontario. These five Great Lakes make up almost one-fifth of the world’s fresh water supply.
- In November 1896, electrical power was transmitted from the Adams Power Plant in Niagara Falls, New York to Buffalo, New York. This was the first time in the world that alternating current was transmitted over a long distance.
- In 1969, an earthen dam was built across the head of the American Rapids, de-watering the American Falls. For six months, geologists and engineers studied the rock face and the effects of erosion. It was determined that it would be too costly to remove rock at the base of the American Falls, and that nature should take its course.
I highly suggest spending the money to take the trip on the Maid of The Mist! Totally worth it.
The Great Lakes are a huge part of my personal experience growing up and I couldn’t recommend visiting every lake you can! The United States is full of amazing travel destinations.