With family members in town from California for a weekend wedding, we had a chance to head up to Niagara Falls for an experience they've never had before - a ride on the Maid of the Mist.  It always amazes me that so many people who live right here in Western New York have never fully experienced the incredible power of the falls.

Cave of the Winds and Maid of the Mist are a couple of attractions that give you an idea of how incredible this natural attraction is.  We decided to check out the Maid of the Mist that gets you about as close to the falls as you can possibly get.  Video can give you an idea of what it's like, but it just doesn't capture the full experience of the spray and how wet you get even with a slicker.

The Maid of the Mist first began as a ferry boat to shuttle people and cargo between New York State and Canada, but with the opening of a suspension bridge between the two sides the Maid of the Mist became a sightseeing attraction.  The boats have been upgraded over the years, but the Maid of the Mist has operated ever since.

Interesting fact - 90 percent of the fish that travel over Niagara Falls survive.  It's believed that the foam generated by the falls cushions their fall.

A niece and nephew joined me aboard the Maid of the Mist earlier this week.  Here's how it went -