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Illumination of Niagara Falls
Featured in the Niagara County section of the Winter 2013-14 issue of Explore New York, is information about Niagara Falls, Lewiston, Lockport, Sanborn, North Tonawanda, Ransomville, Youngstown, Tonawanda, Olcott, Newfane and Town of Niagara.

Advertisers include: Aquarium of Niagara, New York State Power Authority's Power Vista, Riviera Theatre, Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum, Niagara River Region, Erie Canal Discovery Center and Penney Gallery, Niagara History Center including Niagara Historical Society and Col. William Bond/Jesse Hawley House, The Giacomo Boutique Hotel, Fashion Outlets, Rainbow Air, Niagara Tourism & Convention Corporation's (NTCC) Official Niagara Falls Visitor Center, Old Fort Niagara, Seneca Niagara Casino, New York State Power Authority, An American Country Store, Newfane Olcott Fishing Derbies, Seneca Poker Room, Niagara Falls Culinary Center, Fashion Outlets, Artpark, Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum, Smokin Joes Cultural Center and Joseph Jacobs Native American Sculpture Museum, Lockport Locks & Erie Canal Cruises, Lakeview Village Shoppes, Olcott Beach Carousel Parl & Images of the Past, Old Falls Street, Lewiston Jazz Festival, Niagara County Peach Festival by the Lewiston Kiwanis Club and Foley's Pub.
Explore Niagara USA!

As Niagara USA thaws out from the Blizzard of 2014, its visitors and residents will welcome spring and all of the events that come along with it. Niagara USA starts to bustle with activity as the ice and snow slowly melt and the flowers and trees begin to bud.

Take advantage of the final days of winter by skating at Academy Park in Lewiston. Free family skate takes place 4 – 8 pm Monday through Thursday, 4 – 10 pm Friday, 1 – 10 pm Saturday, and 1 – 7 pm Sunday.

Special events and exciting exhibits at museums around the area offer something for everyone. The Erie Canal Discovery Center is a multi-media interactive museum that is open year-round, where patrons travel back to the 1820s and the early days of the Erie Canal. Visit niagarahistory.org for more information.

Visit one of the local art museums including the Castellani Museum at Niagara University and the Niagara Arts and Cultural Center. Stop by the Freedom Crossing monument at Lewiston Landing on the Lower Niagara River and up-the-road to the new Tuscarora Heroes Monument on Center St.

Plan a stop at the Aquarium of Niagara where you can experience sea life of all kinds. There are daily sea lion shows, seal presentations and penguin feedings. On March 6, partake in the original “Taste of Niagara” at the Aquarium’s SEAsonings. Enjoy local food samples along with New York State wines and entertainment throughout the exhibit areas.

Educate your palate without spending too much money, at “Winter Wine Tasting: Low vs High”, at The Giacomo from 7 – 11 pm March 6. In this tasting, participants will be blind comparing lower cost wines with higher. Ten wines will be matched with small bites at intermission. Admission is $35 per person.

Don’t miss the 44th Annual 100 American Craftsman at the Kenan Center May 30 – June 1. This popular event is a juried show of contemporary craft held on an historic campus. One of the top craft shows/festivals in New York State (and the only in the Western New York area) this long-running show is dedicated to art featuring leather, glass, metal, clay, wood, basketry, fiber, paper and mixed media. All proceeds from admission support the Kenan Center, the region’s largest community arts, education and recreation center in Eastern Niagara.

Visit www.niagara-usa.com for a complete list of attractions and events this spring or to book your Niagara USA package for special savings. For the very latest on everything Niagara USA, follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram @NiagaraFallsUSA.
Aquarium has SEAster Egg Hunt

The Aquarium of Niagara’s annual SEAster Egg Hunt will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 19th at the Whirlpool Street attraction. Kids won’t get their feet wet, but to find their SEAster eggs, they’ll have to check out the various salt and freshwater tanks on both levels.

SEAster egg hunters, accompanied by a parent, will receive a special form to keep track of their finds. Prizes include plush animals, candy and more!

The SEAster Bunny will be “hopping” around throughout the day. Sea lion demonstrations, tidal pool and penguin feedings will continue at their regular times. This “egg-stra” special event is included in regular admission of $10 for adults, $6.50 for children and free for 2 and under. Of course, members are free every day.

SEAster Egg Hunt sponsors includes Niagara Frontier Publications, Niagara Chocolate, Niagara Gazette and George & Company. For more information, call 285-3575, Ext. 206.

Cultural attractions collaborate to create seven-stop ‘passport’ event in Erie and Niagara counties

Seven Erie and Niagara County cultural attractions are teaming up to present a collaborative weekend, May 8-10, enabling guests to visit all seven locations for one low price. “History in Your Backyard” participants will receive a commemorative “passport” that will be stamped at each attraction. The passport will also contain discounts for numerous local restaurants.

Additionally, participants who visit and receive a stamp at each site will be entered into a drawing to win a helicopter ride over Niagara Falls courtesy of Rainbow Air Helicopter Rides! Participants will also be entered to win a gift basket from each participating attraction. Details will be available at each location.

Cultural attractions taking part in History in Your Backyard include:

Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village: 3755 Tonawanda Creek Road, Amherst, 689-1440, www.bnhv.org.

Col. William Bond/Jesse Hawley House: 143 Ontario St., Lockport, 434-7433, http://niagarahistory.org.

Erie Canal Discovery Center: 24 Church St., Lockport, 439-0431, http://niagarahistory.org.

Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum: 180 Thompson St., North Tonawanda, 693-1885, www.carrouselmuseum.org.

Museum of disABILITY History: 3826 Main St., Buffalo, 629-3626, http://museumofdisability.org.

Niagara Aerospace Museum: 9900 Porter Road, Niagara Falls, 297-1323, http://wnyaerospace.org.

Niagara County Historical Society: 215 Niagara St., Lockport, 434-7433, http://niagarahistory.org.

Passports can be purchased at any of the participating cultural attractions (with the exception of the Col. William Bond/Jesse Hawley House) and can be used throughout the entire weekend. The cost is $25 for adults in advance and $30 on the event weekend. The ticket price for children and students is $10 in advance and $15 on the event weekend. Children 2 and under will be admitted free. A family ticket is also available for $50 in advance and $60 during the event.

Please contact any of the participating attractions for more information. Each attraction will be operating under its usual weekend hours.
“Aquarium Launches New Sea Lion Show

A new redesigned sea lion show will be premiered at the Aquarium of Niagara during its annual fundraising event, SEAsonings “The Original Taste of Niagara”, on Thursday, March 6, 2014 from 6-9 P.M.

The presentation has been under conceptual development for the past six months, and includes a reformatted show that is designed to empower your soul while our sea lions and trainers set the stage for a thrilling adventure. Captivated audiences will feel the energy and spirit of the sea, and realize that we are all part of one world connected by an incredibly strong and special bond. A customized soundtrack, composed by Bernd Gottinger from SUNY Fredonia, compliments the show with heart-pounding orchestration that captures the excitement, passion and emotion projected from the show. Dramatic lighting creates a dynamic visual display as the cast of human and animal performers swim, soar and dive among one another throughout the performance.

The new show will be presented on weekends only, starting March 8, until the start of the Aquarium’s summer season in late June when performances will be run daily. Daily presentations and training demonstrations will continue at their regularly scheduled times during the week. For a complete listing of all animal activities and show times, visit www.aquariumofniagara.org.

The Aquarium of Niagara is located at 701 Whirlpool Street, Niagara Falls USA and is open year ‘round. For directions, hours and more details, call them at 716-285-3575.
Newest Niagara Falls Boutique Hotel

The former United Office Building has been given new life as a luxury boutique hotel and no detail has been overlooked. Now called the Giacomo, as a tribute to one of the owners’ father, this gem of a lodging property is something you would expect to see in San Francisco or another chic metropolitan area. The 1929 structure even has a residential component- 24 apartments that have access to all of the hotels amenities. The Giacomo is within walking distance of Niagara Falls, the Seneca Niagara Casino and other attractions.

Local artist Donna Wojcik has been selected to institute her design talents into the decor of the building.

The bar in the lounge and desk in the reception area have casts of the foyer banister incorporated into their motif. Replicas of the Indian statues on the outer building that welcome you are also present on either side of the fireplace mantle in the front sitting area. Wojcik also created every painting adorning each room. The letter G (for Giacomo) is found somewhere in each piece of artwork. The color scheme and patterns in the wallpaper and paint also tie into the marble in the floor and bring the entire building together as one.

The art deco-themed spacious rooms have high ceilings, large bathrooms, mini refrigerators and some include fireplaces and Jacuzzis. Complimentary extended breakfasts, a fitness center, free Internet access are just some of the amenities available to Giacomo guests. The Giacomo offers butler service and complimentary valet parking for your entire stay. Although you can walk to most destinations around the Giacomo, transportation is included to and from the Buffalo Niagara International and Niagara Falls airports and within a 3-mile radius of the hotel.

For pampering and a restful stay in Niagara Falls, make your reservations at The Giacomo. They are located at 222 First Street, Niagara Falls USA. They can be reached at 716.299.0200 or go online to www.thegiacomo.com .
Fireplace in the Sitting Area
Aquarium of Niagara
  Aquarium of Niagara Creature Feature

They’re called hermit crabs because they keep pretty much to themselves except when they need a bigger shell to live in. Then, they rely on larger hermit crabs to shed their shells so they can move in. These crustaceans are one of the most popular residents of the Aquarium of Niagara.

Hermit crabs don’t start out with a shell of their own. After a final larval stage, they find a small shell that will keep them from being someone’s lunch. The hermit crab usually moves into a sea snail shell where its soft, vulnerable abdomen is protected from predators. When the shell is big enough and the crab small enough, they are able to retract so far into their shells that it is sometimes impossible to know they’re in there. As a result, the crabs sometimes find themselves “collected” and taken home as a souvenir. One Florida-vacationing family did just that, but when they found the shells had moved overnight, they returned them to the cove where they were found and the crabs quickly crawled off into deeper water.

These fun crabs live in varying depths of salt water, from shallow reefs and shorelines to deep sea bottoms. Tropical waters host some terrestrial species. There are only a few hermit crabs that don’t occupy “mobile homes;” however they too head for a place to hide, often crawling into immobile structures left by sea worms, gastropods (sea snails, slugs, etc.), corals and sponges.

If you haven’t been to the Aquarium or at least not in awhile, there is so much more to see at sea level. There’s Twister, a Pacific ocean octopus, two young sea lions in the main pool and rare yellow lobsters.

The Aquarium opens at 9 a.m. daily except Thanksgiving and Christmas. For more information, call 716-285-3575.

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