It was a perfect day to celebrate the natural beauty of the falls.
A rainbow formed in a sunny blue sky as NBC's "Today" show was being broadcast live Thursday from the thunderous base of the American Falls.
Natalie Morales was on deck for NBC -- literally. The national correspondent contributed live segments from a wooden deck of the Cave of the Winds stairway that takes visitors to the bottom of the American and Bridal Veil falls.
The scenery is wild down there. Huge boulders covered with moss and sprouting wild ferns, the screeching cries of thousands of seagulls and the roar of the cascading water.
"It's the best place to appreciate the power of the falls," said Niagara historian Paul Gromosiak. "You look up at all that water coming at you and the sound is overwhelming."
At one point in the broadcast, Morales was standing immediately below the Bridal Veil Falls on what is known as "the hurricane deck," so called because winter's winds can reach hurricane force, Gromosiak noted.
Suddenly, Morales ducked underneath the falling water.
She pranced out, soaked to the skin, her arms raised in the victorious gesture of a prizefighter, much like Rocky Balboa in the 1979 movie "Rocky."
Niagara Falls was the first mystery stop in the show's "America the Beautiful" series. Viewers discover the locations only when the cameras start rolling.
They rolled here under a cloudless sky as Maid of the Mist boats chugged by on the Niagara River and the Niagara Falls, Ont., skyline loomed in high-rise elegance.
"This has been an incredible experience," Morales said at the end of the show. "The whole time we were here, the local residents did Niagara Falls proud."
Morales said it was her first visit to Niagara Falls in 20 years.
Her producer, Jennifer Long, was making her first trip ever to Niagara Falls. "I loved it," she said.
More than a dozen members of the "Today" show crew checked into the Seneca Niagara Casino Hotel earlier in the week and shot footage of local restaurants and other hangouts that were included in a segment on how to do Niagara Falls on $50 a day.
Producers came prepared by calling Kate Scaglione, marketing director for Niagara Tourism and Convention Corp., in advance, swearing her to secrecy until the day of the broadcast.
When the show ended, the rainbow that had arched from the American side of the falls, was still hanging in the sky, doing its convex best to reach the Canadian side.
Niagara Falls gets another shot at national stardom July 26 when CBS plans to broadcast its "Early Show" from Terrapin Point, as part of its "Great American Vacation" series. There's no secret here. CBS has mapped out its destinations, which also include Aspen, Colo., Outer Banks, N.C., and Bar Harbor, Maine.