PGAV Destinations

07 November 2017

New Cave of the Winds Experience Now Open at the Niagara Falls Pavilion

Exciting stories and breathtaking vistas prepare guests for Cave of the Winds

(St. Louis, MO – November 7, 2017) – PGAV Destinations, in partnership with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation and Design Island, is proud to announce the opening of the renovated Niagara Falls Pavilion Building at the Cave of the Winds (COTW) Experience in Niagara Falls, USA.

“When we first began discussing the project several years ago, our goal was to create a meaningful experience that would enhance the connection between guests and the legacy of the Falls,” said Ned Diestelkamp, Vice President at PGAV Destinations. “After extensively scanning the regional and historic opportunities that already existed, we uncovered a unique, never-before-told story of ‘Power and Beauty’ at the Falls, which would help prepare guests for their amazing COTW Experience.”

At COTW, visitors descend 175 feet into the Niagara Gorge on an elevator, then suit up in a souvenir rain poncho and specially-designed sandals. They proceed onto a wooden walkway along the Niagara River Gorge to the aptly-named Hurricane Deck at the foot of Bridal Veil Falls, the only place where visitors can truly experience the full, thundering power of the Falls.

The new Pavilion Experience above the gorge offers educational and entertaining exhibits and films, while providing a more comfortable guest queuing system in preparation for the COTW attraction. Guests can enjoy a new, immersive object theater media presentation that introduces the historical significance of Niagara Falls. During this experience, visitors will see footage of previous guests sharing their personal encounters of the riveting adventure at COTW. Visitors to COTW will now be able to enjoy the extraordinary experiences of Drawn to the Edge, The World Changed Here, Prepare for Power, and Winter at Niagara Falls.

Drawn to the Edge
In Drawn to the Edge, the struggle between preserving the beauty and leveraging the power of Niagara Falls is explored in a number of interactive exhibits. People have always been drawn to the Falls, and guests will explore stories from the earliest days of the COTW tours, such as the treacherous Biddle Staircase that brought tourists down into the Gorge, as well as how industrialists harnessed the power of the Falls for their mills and power plants. Visitors can learn about the myriad nineteenth century tour operations that competed to use the Falls as a tourism attraction, portrayed by interactive exhibits and vintage-inspired image viewers such as stereoscopes and hand-crank peep show viewers. The centerpiece of this introductory gallery is a digital, interactive map of the Niagara Region, showcasing the Bridges, Water, Beauty, and Power Plants of the area. Guests are invited to explore the historic and current region through one of four touch-screen stations.

The World Changed Here
While Niagara Falls is often cited for its magnificent beauty, many admirers fail to realize the incredible role the destination has played in shaping all of America – and the world. Through this remarkably unique, immersive object theater, explorers can discover how the Free Niagara Movement preserved the beauty of the Falls for future generations and inspired a model for public parks around the world, serving as the first American – and New York – State Park. This 70-person theater surrounds the audience in 180º of layered screens and massive, authentic props from the Falls’ history – all brilliantly woven together to celebrate its delicate balance of Power and Beauty. Guests can also explore the exciting electrical revolution of alternating current, when Niagara Falls became the proving ground for AC electrical power distribution that set the standard still in use today.


Prepare for Power
Entering the third new gallery at COTW, Prepare for Power is where guests receive their special footwear and ponchos for their adventure down to the Falls where they will become part of the COTW legacy. While suiting up, visitors will enjoy a panoramic media wall showcasing recent and historic photos of people on the experience, which is continually updated.

Winter at Niagara Falls (Prepare for Power Gallery, winter season)
“Certainly Spring, Summer, and Fall are very popular seasons for us, as people are drawn from around the world to witness and feel the power of Niagara Falls and experience the downpour on the Maid of the Mist,” said Stephen McCorkell, Capital Facilities Manager for the New York City Region. “But Winter is such a remarkable, magical time for us. The Falls transform into massive, beautiful ice forms, which slowly shift and creak like frozen thunder, while the mist gently covers everything in sight, creating a dreamlike, pillowy marshmallow landscape.”

PGAV Destinations and Design Island were tasked with creating a winter component for the new Pavilion Experience, both for guests of the winter season and to encourage peak season guests to return several months later. The Prepare for Power gallery doubles as an exciting winter attraction, showcasing the spectacular seasonal beauty of Niagara Falls. Exiting the theater, guests can have their green screen photo taken on a variety of backgrounds and then discover several stunning wall murals seasonally rotated, which capture the Falls’ winter wonderland. They may enjoy a seven-minute video, Winter at Niagara Falls, which celebrates the beauty of the season at the Falls, its tremendous power of ice, and the fascinating winter history of the region, including an annual rotation of the COTW decks, docking the Maid of the Mist, the collapse of the Honeymoon Bridge, and many more stories.

PGAV Destinations has been previously involved with the Ontario side of Niagara Falls as it master planned and designed the Table Rock Welcome Centre, new retail and dining, and the popular attraction Niagara’s Fury.


About PGAV Destinations
PGAV Destinations is a global leader in the planning and design of unique destinations. Now entering its sixth decade, the practice has evolved to become the ideal destination-consulting partner, skilled at developing growth-oriented master plans and translating those plans into successful projects. No other firm offers such an integrated approach to destination planning.

PGAV’s key clients include industry leaders such as Delaware North Companies, SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment, the Biltmore Companies, Bass Pro Shops, Ameristar Casinos, Universal Studios, The Gettysburg Foundation, the Saint Louis Zoo, and many others. Recent assignments include planning and design at many of the world’s “must see” destinations, including the Grand Canyon, Biltmore Estate, Space Shuttle Atlantis, Chimelong Ocean Kingdom, the Georgia Aquarium, the Hoover Dam, and SeaWorld Adventure Parks.


About the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, & Historic Preservation
The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation oversees 179 state parks and 35 historic sites, which are visited by 60 million people annually. A recent study commissioned by Parks & Trails New York found that New York State Parks generates $1.9 billion in economic activity annually and supports 20,000 jobs. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit, connect on Facebook, or follow on Twitter.

Posted by Al Cross

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