It's cool, dark and a little bit spooky. This tunnel created directly beneath the crashing thunder of Niagara Falls just opened, as reported by CNN. You can walk through, wince, imagine the walls buckling – and also feel good thinking about how this tunnel once harnessed the hydro power of Horseshoe Falls to create electricity. At one time, this tunnel held 71,000 gallons of water that rushed through it at almost 30 feet per second.
The tunnel’s been there a while, since 1905, but this summer marks the first time it was opened to the public. It was part of the Niagara Parks Power Station which operated from 1905 until 2006, using water from the falls to run huge generators that powered the area (and helped Buffalo earn the moniker the City of Light). Now decommissioned, the power station offers tours of the 2,200-foot tunnel built on the Canadian side, resting 180 feet below the station. First, tour the plant's immersive exhibits and appreciate its artifacts.
Then, just like Charlie, you’ll descend in a great glass elevator to walk through the tunnel (included in your Niagara Parks Power station admission; the experience takes about two hours and costs $28 for adults, $18.25 for kids 6-12, and free for 5 and under) and get panoramic views of the falls from a new, ground-level viewing platform from a lower vantage point. This incredible platform lets you experience the falls from the water level, as if you were on a boat. You can also add on a guided tour of the station (but the tunnel is self-guided) for an extra fee.
There’s also a new nighttime sound and light show called Currents (cute) inside the station, where you walk “amongst the towering turbines on the generator floor, while projected images and light react to your movement and tell Niagara's story of power,” according to the website for Niagara Parks. The show incorporates 3D projection, interactive lights and a musical score.
There’s a reason people used to honeymoon at Niagara Falls; the water’s powerful push over the edge is impressive, hard to describe and, yes, climactic.
Bonus: Don’t miss the Falls Illumination, an Instagrammable moment of pure awe. Every evening starting at dusk, the falls are lit by multicolored lights to create dazzling effects. The five-minute light show is often intended to mimic nature: such as Aurora Borealis, sunrise, sunset and rainbows. Check the website for the illumination schedule.