Pardon Our Progress
Niagara Falls State Park to Build $46 Million State of the Art Welcome Center
New Gateway to The Niagara River Corridor Will Serve As A Starting Point For Adventure
Public-Private Partnership to Be Supported By $8 Million Grant from Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation
Niagara Falls State Park is getting a new Welcome Center!
The new facility will be a gateway to adventure along the Niagara River Corridor, greatly improving the visitor experience, complementing nature, increasing the length of visits within the park in all four seasons, and enhancing awareness of nearby recreational and cultural offerings. The project is being funded by the State of New York along with $8 million from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation.
The new facility would provide expanded space for peak-time visiting and include areas for ticketing, interpretation, dining and retail operations. The building will replace a 35-year-old structure that is no longer capable of hosting the 9 million visitors a year the park receives.
The new 28,000-square-foot visitor center will include new ticketing and information desks, interpretive museum space including an immersive experience and exhibits highlighting a diversity of topics including natural, industrial and Indigenous American history; new concession spaces; restrooms and associated support spaces. The glass, steel and concrete facility has been designed to complement nature and include a rooftop solar array, green roof elements and a separate restroom building. Enhanced site amenities include new accessible paths; plantings; outdoor exhibits, and interpretive and wayfinding elements. The existing 7,000-square-foot regional administration building immediately adjacent to the facility will be adapted to include a multi-purpose community room, regional archives and offices for Niagara regional interpretive staff.
The $8 million grant from the not-for-profit Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, created after the 2014 death of Wilson, the former owner of the Buffalo Bills and a co-founder of the American Football League, continues Ralph Wilson's remarkable legacy of support for tourism, parks and outdoor recreation, trail development, and community revitalization in Western New York.
The building is being designed by GWWO, a national leader in visitor center development.
This project will complement the $150 million revitalization of Niagara Falls State Park landscape. Launched in 2011, the Niagara Falls State Park landscape revitalization plan was a multi-year commitment to renew the park in a manner that better reflects noted park designer Frederick Law Olmsted's vision for the landscape. The plan renovated the park's major viewing areas including Luna Island, Prospect Point, Lower Grove, Three Sisters Islands, North Shoreline Trail, Luna Bridge, and Terrapin Point with new pedestrian walkways, enhanced landscaping, new benches, light posts and railings. The interactive Cave of the Winds pavilion, which highlights the natural and cultural history of Niagara Falls, opened in 2017.
Removal of the Niagara Scenic Parkway in the city of Niagara Falls provides unprecedented access to the Niagara Gorge by connecting the city to its waterfront for the first time in a generation and is the largest expansion of Niagara Falls State Park since the creation of the park. Niagara Falls State Park is a state and national treasure. Created in 1885, it is the oldest state park in the nation, attracting over 9 million visitors annually.