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Riverboat Discovery

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Fairbanks, AK, USA
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About Riverboat Discovery
SEASONAL BUSINESS open May 11, 2022 to September 17, 2022. Two tours daily departing at 8:45AM & 2:00PM. Please call ahead if visiting in May or September. More than just a boat ride! Board the Sternwheeler Riverboat Discovery for one of the most unique Alaskan experiences available! This three-hour cruise will take you into the heart of Alaska and introduce you to a family who has made the rivers of Alaska a way of life for five generations. You will see a bush float plane takeoff alongside the boat, visit the home and kennels of the late four-time Iditarod winner Susan Butcher and see her champion sled dogs in action. Be immersed into the ancient Athabascan Indian culture when our Alaskan Native Guides take you on a personalized tour of the Chena Indian Village, and meet life-long Alaskans who are eager to share The Last Frontier with visitors from all over the world.
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Hours Today: 9:00 AM - 5:30 PM
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Riverboat Discovery
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dachocochick wrote a review Aug 13
Greensboro, North Carolina36 contributions10 helpful votes
Highly recommend! My kids had a great time and the Chena Indian Village was super cool. Seeing the bush plane take off was also pretty cool. Overall would definitely do this again if we went back.
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Date of experience: July 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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NeilMyrie wrote a review Aug 9
Wellington, New Zealand22 contributions6 helpful votes
The whole operation is excellently run and provides a range of interesting experiences. The recreated Athabascan village with Native guides was very interesting. The cruise was very relaxing and comfortably accommodated large groups who arrived by bus. Highly recommended
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Date of experience: August 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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WanderGeek wrote a review Aug 6
49 contributions19 helpful votes
This is a great half day trip. It is a cruise on the Chena river to a mock native village and the Tenana river junction and back but it is not just a cruise, instead it is an Alaska show with demonstrations and displays including bush planes (one takes off and lands on the river), historic river transport (ship itself and displays), dog sledding (they stop at a kennel with a demonstration), native history and culture (discussion on the boat and at the mock native village), and modern Fairbanks (along the river). At the village they demonstrate clothing, salmon preserving, housing and more. All of the demonstrations and displays are top notch. The ship is very nice with large indoor and outdoor (covered) sections. The river is placid and the ship is slow so boat motion should not be a problem for anyone. Food is available to buy. They have monitors everywhere showing what they are discussing so you still see it if you are on the wrong side of the ship. At the harbor, they have a large gift shop with very reasonable prices and -40 degree (C or F, both are the same at -40) room so you can feel an Alaska winter.
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Date of experience: June 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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steve d wrote a review Aug 5
Ball Ground, Georgia11 contributions
Although you don't travel far on this paddle wheel boat it is full of nice scenery and history of the Chena river in Fairbanks. the guide told history of the houses and other things along the river. We stopped by a sled dog training area and watch demonstrations of them. then we next went on to a native fish camp area and watched as one of the native tribes lady cut up a salmon. we then went on to the confluence of the Chena and Tanana rivers. We then returned to the Fish camp where we had 3 different demonstrations about the native life and culture. and then you could walk around and enjoy the camp. For the boarding process it was very easy and quick. I would recommend the 3 or 4 levels of the ship to get the best views. The staff was very helpful and kind. We had the narrator pointing out the spots and gave some words on them. The blueberry donuts were very good!!! Everything food wise sold on the boat was very reasonably priced. The smoked salmon dip at the end was AMAZING!!! "Pro tip from a fat man -- You can go and get the dip and crackers as many times as you want!!!"
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Date of experience: August 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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SLSCalgary_AB_Canada wrote a review Aug 5
Calgary, Canada108 contributions34 helpful votes
We had the lunch and riverboat tour together. Lunch was served family style (that seems to be the way things are done in YK and AK) - stew, salad (the best salad we had on the trip!), buns, vegetables (these were great, too), and chocolate cake. The service was a bit slow getting food to everyone at the table (there were SO many people, and the servers seemed young), but we all had as much to eat as we wanted, and the food was good. After lunch, we boarded the riverboat - and as mentioned by other reviewers, exactly as described. Loads of good seating - many deck levels, both inside and outside, and if you can't see something perfectly, they have it projected on the screens as well. The complimentary blueberry donuts are yummy, and there is also coffee, tea, and other drinks and snacks for purchase. The only negative is that it is super-scripted ... but that way, it's predictable, and a high standard is maintained. All staff - including the pilot of the seaplane, Susan Butcher's daughter (the musher), and the Athabascan young man doing the demonstration of how to catch and smoke fish, are all miked with wireless mics so everyone on the ship can hear everything that is said. Truly a polished operation. The cruise on the Cheena river was nice, and the stop at the Indigenous Village was wonderful. The three stops we made where we were provided short informative talks on the use of Indigenous hides and beading to make clothing, the furs of the local animals and how they are used, and the making of canoes and other items from the bark of trees were the perfect length and again, everyone could hear and see. The free time at the village was well-used, giving us time to check out any of the areas we heard about more closely, to catch up with the sled dogs (and get a book signed by Susan Butcher's daughter but written by her mom the Iditarod winner) - Granite, was well-spent. When the horn blew to get back on the ship, we were ready, but not feeling like we were marking time. Would highly recommend this tour for all ages.
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Date of experience: July 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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