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“great float, but odd/poor service” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Nature Quest

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Nature Quest
10830 S. W. 180th Avenue Road, Dunnellon, FL
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Maui, HI
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“great float, but odd/poor service”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 20, 2013

I would highly recommend tubing the Rainbow River, however I would try a different operator, someone other than Nature Quest. My husband and I rented tubes and took the shuttle with Nature Quest on a beautiful day. We had a great time and everything worked out, but renting from Nature Quest was strange and unpleasant. Buying tickets took FOREVER, a completely unreasonable amount of time to ring up 2 standard fares. No one explained anything to us about where to pick up the tube, when to board the shuttle, how long the float was, rules of the river/park, history of the area, wildlife, nothing. No information whatsoever, except for showing a picture of the takeout point and threatening to lock up our cars if we didn't take out at the appropriate stage. It was fine for us, we had all day, but I would have been concerned if I had kids with me who might need to know about safety, bathrooms, rules, etc. If they would just explain the system, briefly, it would have been awesome. I hope they will get more organized before things get busy in the summer.

Visited May 2013
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13 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Great park, but Nature Quest is a poor service”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed May 6, 2013

Rainbow Springs State Park is a beautiful, well-maintained park, but it's a shame that Nature Quest has a monopoly on renting boats at this place. They tell you you can bring your own kayak and put-in for free, but there is no convenient unloading spot or put-in. You have to carry or wheel your kayak about 100 yards from the parking lot to the put-in, and that includes some stairs. It's not impossible, but it's inconvenient, especially if you aren't aware of it and don't bring a boat carrier. Also, the rental info is misleading. They make it sound like they have single person kayaks. I had a kayak, my girlfriend did not. They only had tandem kayaks, so we just decided to both take one tandem. We go to the ramp and there's only one kayak that's accessible and it has a ton of water in it (not to mention that some of the padding has fallen off). The rear seat is submerged in water, and the boat is probably about 20 lbs. heavier than it's dry weight. Obviously, the apathetic kid (Gavin) working at the rental kiosk never leaves the hut to check on the boats or turn them over so they're ready for the next customers. We asked him if we could take one of the other 30 boats that were on the rack, but he said he wanted us to take the boat that was full of water, and we could flip it ourselves. Okay, that's not a big deal. I can flip a boat, but it did eat into our 2 hour time limit. The paddling was excellent. We made it back in 2 hours from the time we pushed off until the time we came back to the window. What were we immediately greeted with when we came back to the kiosk? The apathetic kid looks at our clipboard, which states the time we were checked out, and says, "you'll just need to pay another $10.60," (for an extra hour), apparently because we went over time by 10 minutes, to which I replied, "Are you kidding me?" Gavin the Apathetic said, "I can't do anything about it. It's the park's rules," which I know is BS because it's a private rental venture by Nature Quest. The public park has nothing to do with it. I promptly reminded this kid that he made no effort to help us get the boat ready and it took us at least 10 minutes to put in. Realizing I had a point, he immediately backed down on insisting that we pay for another hour. I guess the state park's rules didn't matter anymore.

The one boat we were allowed to take was not in great condition. I get the feeling that Nature Quest is cheap and they use only 4 or 5 of their 30 boats until they're dead so they don't have to buy anything new, ever. Also, for $20/2 hours for a kayak, you can provide some nice, light paddles. Nature Quest probably instructs their employees to charge for any amount of time over the time limit, because even if only 10 out of 100 customers don't argue and willingly pay for the extra time, that's an extra $200 in their pockets. I mean, if my employees were diligent about demanding those extra fees, I would even give them a cut of those overage charges. It's assuming too much to credit a bored kid with a stingy business model like that.

We love Rainbow Springs Park, but next time we're going to KP hole if we need to rent a kayak.

Visited May 2013
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Charleston, South Carolina
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“laid back trip on a beautiful river”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 15, 2011

The rainbow river was amazing! My husband and I drove to the tubing entrance around 11 am on a Thursday. I was nervous from all the reviews about crowds on weekend, so wanted to avoid that. The parking lot was only half full. We had zero wait time to buy a ticket, get a tube, or get on the tram. It was a very smooth process and everyone was nice and the whole thing was very organized. The tram driver was very nice and friendly, she gave us a few instructions then dropped us off at a small ramp where we could get into the river. The float was very enjoyable and relaxing. That 72 degree water is wonderfully refreshing when the heat index is 110!! About an hour and forty-five minutes after putting in, we were at the boardwalk to get out. Walked to the car and headed to the state park entrance which is free with your tubing receipt. All in all it was a great experience and Nature Quest made it quite easy!

Visited August 2011
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tampa, Florida
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
20 attraction reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“Awesome Experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 11, 2011

After reading the negative review I had my doubts, but it was an awesome experience and really fun. I called ahead and asked a few questions, they were very helpful on the phone, and great in person too. It was bad weather and when i called they said you could tube in the rain, but if they saw lightning you had to wait 30 minutes until no more lightning, when we got there the rain had cleared though, so no worries. There are dressing rooms and bathrooms, so you can change your clothes, np! They sell only candy and stuff, and its a long river trip, I reccommend keeping some snacks back in your car. For $2 extra they can hold your car key, I just brought a dry box to hold my own, but they do offer the service. You grab a tube after paying, and wait a few minutes and hop on a tram, they drop you off upstream and you float back to your car. There are steps/ramp to make it easy to get in and out of the water on both ends. Don't hesitate, this place was great! Tube rental and shuttle service cost a total of 10.60, and its 10.60 even if you bring your own tube! Also $5 for park entrance.

Visited July 2011
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Clearwater, Florida
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Great experience for child with special needs”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 9, 2011

We brought our three children to tube on the river on our family vacation and had a great time. We went on a weekday and it was not crowded. Our daughter has a heart condition and I was concerned about her having the strength to stay on the tube for the full ride. When I explained our situation, they provided a tube with a bottom, which was perfect for her. We took an aluminum thermos with water for her (I believe that anything disposable is not perrmitted) - she kept it stowed away in the bottom of her tube. They were very accommodating and kind and made it a great outing for our family.

If you have any unusual circumstances, you might try calling ahead to make sure they have a heads-up for any special accommodations you may require. Going on a weekday, rather than a busy weekend is a good plan, if possible. There is a fair walk back to the tube return from the take-out point for anyone with limited mobility, but my daughter managed it well. We will be back.

Visited July 2011
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