Niagara Falls, one of the worlds greatest natural wonders, can only be described as breath taking. No matter what time of year, whether it's the beautiful rainbows glistening in the mist, or the magnificent ice bridge created by the cold of winter, Niagara Falls always seems to amaze it's viewers. Schoolbooks called it one of the greatest wonders of the world, bringing to mind pictures of a far away, unattainable place. It seemed like a larger-than-life miracle of nature. As a child, I believed that Niagara Falls, like Mt. Rushmore and the Grand Canyon were all very real attractions of the United States.

I was given the facts and numbers, but never could my young mind comprehend the actual size and greatness of the falls. This past June, I was given the opportunity to travel to Canada and see the expansive falls with my own eyes. Perhaps the most amazing aspect of the falls is that they are not in some far away place in the country. They are right smack in the middle of a town, the town of Niagara Falls. As a child, I envisioned the falls as a giant rushing shower of water.

However, I could never have imagined the great beauty and breathtaking view the falls offer. The falls serve as a border between the U. S. (New York) and Canada (Ontario). The falls actually consist of the American Bridal Veil Falls and the Canadian Horseshoe Falls, collectively called Niagara.

They were created 12, 000 years ago when large glaciers retreated allowing the Niagara River to flow over large sections of rock. There are several ways to view the falls, but perhaps the best way to observe the splendor and majesty of Niagara Falls is through a tour. Our tour guide directed us through many of the unseen attractions including the man-made tunnels behind the falls. Here, several look-out points allowed us to observe the incredible speed at which the water rushed over the rock. The water flows at an amazing 212, 000 cubic feet of water per second. We were also guided to the basin where the falls originated miles away.

In fact, over the last 12, 000 years, the falls have eroded back seven miles. The incredible history of the falls came to life when I actually viewed them with my own eyes. No schoolbook could possibly give an understanding of the vastness of the falls. Nor could a book bring to life the remarkable history behind this amazing wonder of nature.

Niagara Falls has been nicknamed the "Rainbow City." On any given sunny day, a rainbow can be seen over the falls, adding to the charm of the city. People from around the country travel to see the falls, but unless they are also viewed at night, one cannot fully comprehend their true beauty. Each night, various-colored lights illuminate the falls. Blue, yellow, purple, green, and pink light up the falls, creating a flowing rainbow of water for all to see. The lights change every few minutes fading in and out, softening the effect of the water. A photograph could capture only a small part of Niagara Falls.

A simple snapshot could never capture the wonderful rushing sound of the water pouring over and splashing into the basin below. A picture could not possibly create the wonderful motion of the water as it continuously flows over the rocks. To fully take in the sights and sounds of the majestic falls, one would have to visit them personally. Although many photographers have tried to capture the startling essence of Niagara Falls, no picture could possibly do them justice. The city of Niagara Falls is definitely bustling with activity and people no matter what time of year. It is no secret that Niagara Falls is a tourist town.

Particularly in the summer, there are tour buses, tourists, and cameras everywhere. The hotels are packed, as well as the souvenir shops. Niagara is home to numerous museums including the Niagara Falls Wax Museum and the Schoellkopf Geological Museum, which offers information on the history and geography of the falls. The famous Rainbow Bridge, connecting the U. S. and Canada also sees much travel during the tourist season.

The whole city is a buzz with the wonderment involving one of nature's most exciting creations, Niagara Falls. A simple description or picture of Niagara Falls may spark interest in this natural wonder of the world. However, childhood imaginations and simple musings could never render true the spectacular display that Niagara Falls offers. The natural beauty and magnificence of the falls can only be comprehended through one's own eyes. I am pleased to say that I am among the many who have traveled to see this amazing spectacle which nature has given to us, and have been forever changed by it's greatness.