Niagara Falls, Ontario seems like an unlikely place to find a rainforest chock 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, located at 5651 River Road – 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, starting with Explorer’s Base Camp where guests can partake in 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 Green Iguanas, python snakes, and beautiful blue Hyacinth Macaws. Then explore a small, caged aviary where the teeniest, tiniest of birds flutter delicately about their space. A vast selection of colourful 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. Afterwards, visit the
Then explore a small, caged aviary where the teeniest, tiniest of birds flutter delicately about their space. A vast selection of colourful 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. Afterwards, visit the Night Jungle to witness owls and bats.
Then it’s onto the crowning glory of Bird Kingdom – the main aviary which is 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 350 stunningly vibrant birds representing 80 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. All told, the main aviary is a picture taker’s paradise.
Off to the side is a caged area called Lorikeet Landing for visitors wishing a unique and interactive encounter. This includes feeding the lorikeets while inside their enclosure such that they land on the participants 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 as the aviary maintains a temperature of 76 degrees Fahrenheit, and given the presence of the indoor waterfalls, it can feel a little 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 Bird Kingdom is open 365 days a year, from 9:30am – 5:00pm, with ticket prices as follows: Adults – 16.95 at the gate. Children aged 4-15 are 11.95 at the gate. Seniors (aged 60+) are 14.95 at the gate. A savings of 2.95 each can be had if tickets are purchased online ahead of time. Children 3 and under are free. Memberships are also available. Throughout the summer months, discount coupons can be found within Attractions Ontario brochures, and online deals or promo codes can be applied as well.
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 and the beauty of such colourful, winged creatures, consider Niagara Parks’ Butterfly Conservatory at 2565 Niagara Pkwy, which is only 9 minutes away and is sure to be relaxing as well as awe-inspiring.