For almost 300 years, Old Fort Niagara has guarded the scenic junction of the Niagara River and Lake Ontario. The Fort features impressive original stone buildings, 22 acres of massive 18th and 19th century fortifications and an active living history program that engages all ages in the excitement of early North America.
Visitors begin their trip back in time at the site's Visitor Center where colorful orientation exhibits tell the Fort’s story from the 17th century through the Civil War. An orientation film, Fort Niagara: The Struggle for a Continent recounts the stories of Native American warriors, French, British and American soldiers who struggled to control the Great Lakes.
Once inside the Fort, visitors are surrounded by original 18th century buildings furnished as they appeared during the colonial period. The oldest of these, the 1726 French Castle, is the earliest surviving building in the entire Great Lakes Basin. As guests tour the building, they experience how people lived on the Niagara frontier over 250 years ago.
During the summer months, historical interpreters in period attire fire muskets and cannons throughout the day, play traditional fife and drum tunes and engage guests in many hands-on activities of the period. Visitors can “enlist” in the army and learn a musket drill or play a period game. They can interact with early explorers, fur traders, and the post blacksmith or learn what life was like for women at the Fort.
The Fort also hosts special events all year long. In the summer months the site hosts a military “time line” event on Memorial Day weekend, the French and Indian War Encampment on July 4 weekend, Soldiers of the Revolution in early August and a War of 1812 Encampment on Labor Day weekend. During these events, hundreds of re-enactors establish period camps and recreate important battles that shaped the history of the Niagara Region.
Old Fort Niagara is open daily year round and is located just 20 minutes from Niagara Falls, New York via the Niagara Scenic Parkway North.