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Season extended for Maid of the Mist

NIAGARA FALLS – One of the region’s top tourist attractions will be out on the water a little longer this year.

The Maid of the Mist is extending its season by a week, the company announced Monday. The boat rides usually stop for the season at the end of October, but this year, they also will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 1-8.

“We are announcing this extension early to allow both our guests and tour operators to plan for the additional operational dates,” Maid of the Mist President Christopher M. Glynn said in a statement. “We are having another highly successful season, and this will allow even more tourists visiting Niagara Falls to enjoy the spectacular vista that is Niagara Falls.”

Boat rides below the natural wonder of Niagara Falls, which have been offered for 130 consecutive years and can be taken from both the New York and Ontario sides of the border, are a popular attraction at the international tourist destination.

The Maid of the Mist, which operates from the American side of the falls in Niagara Falls State Park, made some off-season improvements to its facilities that will allow it to operate at lower water levels that start Nov. 1. Those improvements include new upper and lower gangways, as well as a new dock elevator, the company said in its announcement.

Outside of the main tourist season, hydroelectric power facilities in both the United States and Canada are allowed to divert additional water from the Niagara River, taking water that would have otherwise flowed over the falls and causing lower water levels below the cataracts.

Hornblower Niagara Cruises, the Maid’s competitor on the Niagara Falls, Ont., side of the Falls, will operate its boat rides through the end of November, a company spokeswoman said.

This is the second year that Hornblower has operated on the Canadian side.

The Maid of the Mist had operated tours on both sides, but lost the rights on the Ontario side of the border after 2013.

After the Maid of the Mist lost the rights for the Ontario side – and along with it a place to store their boats – the company constructed a $32 million winter dry-dock and maintenance facility at the site of the former Schoellkopf Power Station in the Niagara Gorge.

In addition to the elevator in the state park, the Maid storage site also can be accessed by a recently renovated elevator near the Gorge Discovery Center.