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One of the world's most popular tourist attractions, Niagara Falls attracts nearly 12 million visitors each year. Second in size only to southern Africa's Victoria Falls, the falls have lured daredevils for decades. Annie Taylor, a 63 year-old female schoolteacher, was the first to go over the falls in a barrel.  
Credit: PhotoDisc 
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Niagara Falls State Park is the oldest state park in the U.S., established in 1885 as the Niagara Reservation. It was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the landscape architect behind Manhattan’s Central Park.  
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The Maid of the Mist passenger ferry is one of the most popular ways to experience Niagara Falls. Famous former passengers include Princess Diana and her sons (1991), Mikhail Gorbachev (1983), and Marilyn Monroe (1952).  
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While it is possible for the Niagara River to freeze over, the falls themselves never actually freeze up completely. It is more likely that the narrower American Falls will freeze during a cold snap.  
Credit: Eric Lee 
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Some 76,000 gallons of water gush over Niagara’s American and Bridal Veil falls each second; that’s a mere tenth of what pours over the bigger Horseshoe Falls just upriver.  
Credit: Michelle Cooper 
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View of American Falls from New York side of Niagara Falls. The towers and attractions of Niagara Falls, Ontario, can be seen across the gorge.  
Credit: Debbie Reed 
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Niagara Falls is still considered one of the world’s most romantic destinations. After all, it was good enough for Clark Kent and Lois Lane in Superman II.  
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The crestline of the Canadian Horseshoe Falls is approximately 2,200 feet wide. The plunge pool below burrows 100 feet into the bedrock.  
Credit: iStockphoto/Thinkstock 
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Anytime is a good time to visit Niagara Falls, although fall crackles with colors that contrast nicely with the foamy-white wall of water as it plunges earthwards.  
Credit: iStockphoto/Thinkstock 
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In June 2012, stunt performer Nick Wallenda became the first person to walk across the Niagara Gorge in 116 years. It took him 30 minutes to complete the crossing and he was the first to walk directly across Horseshoe Falls (though in fairness, he was required to use a safety harness).  
Credit: iStockphoto/Thinsktock 
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Despite being a heavily trafficked and developed tourist destination, Niagara Falls still offers the opportunity to appreciate Mother Nature in all her powering, thundering glory.  
Credit: Denis Waugh/Photodisc/Getty 
 
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