Think about the excitement of a trip to Niagara Falls and words like gambling, rushing water, views from way up high, and natural beauty come to mind.

How about speed?

Every year, Niagara Falls seems to come up with a new way to give you a thrill you'll never forget.

The newest attraction: the Niagara Speedway, right on Clifton Hill in the heart of the tourist section.

Opening in June, The Niagara Speedway will be North America's largest elevated go-kart track, including three storeys or curved track, hairpin turns and straightaway lanes.

The 12-metre-tall speedway is one component of a 10-acre redevelopment being carried out by HOCO Limited, which owns and operates numerous attractions, restaurants and hotels on the south side of Clifton Hill, the world-famous avenue that's just feet from the Niagara River.

"It's like go-karts on steroids," said HOCO president Harry Oakes. "You drive on a road course for a portion of the race and then spiral up ... to about 40 feet, and then come down a long hill ... kind of like the way a wooden coaster would be."

Other projects in the redevelopment include a revamped Kelsey's Restaurant; a Zombie Attack attraction that lets visitors shoot down 3D zombies on a screen from a moving chair amid special effects like strong winds; and a renovated Ripley's Believe It Or Not! museum.

Earlier this year, in an interview with the Niagara Falls Review, Oakes said "our kind of official opening is June 1. We're hoping we get opened a little sooner, but that will be if everything falls in place and our inspections go well."

Work to build the new attraction took about a year and a half, he said.

He joked that some online followers have compared it to Mario Kart, a popular online racing game, though he stressed the attraction has no connection to Nintendo.

"The rendering kind of makes it look a little bit like Mario Kart, so I think that's where that came from," he said.

Just to build the Niagara Speedway required 270,000 kg of steel, 2,200 yards (and 4,450 tons) of concrete, 1,832 welded assemblies and 10,000 bolts.

The track itself measures 2,000 feet in length. The go-karts feature 9 horsepower Honda engines.

There are some ride restrictions, for safety reasons. Drivers must be at least four-foot-10, and passengers at least three-foot-four. To carry a passenger, the driver must be at least 18 years old or the parent or legal guardian of the passenger.

Last modified: June 14, 2018