Riverboat Discovery
Riverboat Discovery
4.5
Cultural ToursHistorical & Heritage Tours
9:00 AM - 5:30 PM
Monday
9:00 AM - 5:30 PM
Tuesday
9:00 AM - 5:30 PM
Wednesday
9:00 AM - 5:30 PM
Thursday
9:00 AM - 5:30 PM
Friday
9:00 AM - 5:30 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 5:30 PM
Sunday
9:00 AM - 5:30 PM
About
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.
Fairbanks, Alaska
Meets animal welfare guidelines

Awards
Travelers' Choice
2023

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Travelers talk about
(116 reviews)
(127 reviews)
(58 reviews)

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles2,412 reviews
Excellent
1,688
Very good
531
Average
134
Poor
34
Terrible
25

WanderGeek
49 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2022
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.
Written August 6, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

GRS
Honolulu, HI43 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2021 • Family
An authentic look at central Alaskan history. The paddle boat company is family owned and run (3rd generation), who detail the history of the interior - float planes, dog mushing, native people's, and life generally. The Discovery III is modern and comfortable, and easy to get around. There is a bit of kitch, but it is light hearted and professional. We did this back in 1995; it's just gotten better.
Written July 1, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you very much for coming back for another ride with our family, George. Glad to hear we lived up to your memory of the tour. Thanks for choosing Alaska this summer. Safe travels!
Written July 9, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

kimmyhawks6
Wasilla, AK34 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2021 • Family
Great trip, took my 4 grandkids ages 7-15, and each one enjoyed the experience. They are Alaskan kids and got to see up front a float plane take off and land right beside the boat on the river, see a fish wheel in action and visit many areas of a native village, watch a dog sled demonstration from Susan Butcher’s kennel, try smoked salmon dip, was a fun time! Narrator was personable, informative and funny, kept everyone’s attention. Spendy, but highly recommend!!
Written July 18, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you for the review! We are so glad you and your grand kids had a great time!
Written August 25, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Jay E
24 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2021
We heard good things about this tour and it exceeded our expectations. The boat ride was average but what we didn't expect was the show, The narrator was funny, informative and very entertaining. The "show" included demonstrations by a seaplane and a sled dogs. We got off to visit a indigenous village and heard stories. I would recommend this for any trip to the Fairbanks area.
Written September 9, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ATLJos
Atlanta, GA46 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2022 • Couples
What a wonderful trip. Everything about it was excellent. The crew and narrator were especially friendly and helpful. The stops for demonstration‘s at the home of an Iditarod champion, a float plane flying bush pilot and the indigenous village were beyond my expectations.

I can’t say enough good things about this trip. They had a meal for sale afterwards in their dining room which was very reasonably priced and excellent as well.

I would do this again and recommend it to anyone.
Written June 22, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Steve L
1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2023 • Friends
This 3-hour riverboat ride is well worth the time/money! While we reserved our tickets months in advance, we were blessed with spectacular weather. We sat in the front of the top deck and a cool breeze washed over us, even as we sat in the sun. It's a relaxing and informative experience. The narrator is fabulous and the sound system/TV monitors work very well. In addition, we were treated to a husky dog sled show on the land and the sound system worked perfectly. The dog show, presented by the daughter of an Iditarod winner, was very interesting and entertaining. We stopped for an hour+ at a native Alaskan campground. In this re-creation, we rotated between three different presentations on native Alaskan tribal customs and way of life. In addition, there were multiple live reindeer and more husky dogs performing for us. On the trip back, we were all treated to a fabulous salmon dip, which you could buy in the gift shop.
Written June 29, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

tmw24
Mount Nebo, WV93 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2022
This exceeded our expectations. The boat trip was great and it was piloted by the founder's granddaughter. Free coffee and doughnuts on board as well as salmon dip on return trip. The entire trip was an experience. There was a bush plane landing and take off, a visit to the kennels and home of Susan Butcher, where we got to see some of the dogs her family trains, a native village with native guides, Susan's husband got on board there and let us play with some of the dogs. While there, he also autographed the book Susan wrote to any who wanted to purchase it. Did not expect any of this --just thought it would be a boat ride on a river.
Written September 24, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Maryann K
1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2022 • Couples
This is a very enjoyable family activity. The paddlewheel ride is narrated and very informative. You have the opportunity to see a plane land and take off on the river right by the boat. There is also a dog sled demonstration from the shore and later you get to meet some of the dogs during the stop at the Chena Village. Listening to native Alaskans talk about their heritage is a great addition to the trip. Overall, very well organized.
Written June 10, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

William W
Ogden, UT57 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2021 • Solo
This is my fourth time one the Discovery. It’s a pleasant experience but they need to be less hard sell in pushing their merchandise like the canned salmon.it’s like you have to sit through the commercials for things even though you paid your money to ride, they need to change some of the jokes that they’ve used for years like the girl calling the moose. Also, the narrator along the way was so scripted it was like he was a robot. Enjoyed the NativeVillage but liked the dogsledding the best.
Written June 24, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thanks for coming back for another boat ride, William! We appreciate your repeat business and your feedback.
Written June 28, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Brian A
1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2022 • Couples
Tremendously more than we expected! The ride has an excellent narrator. He tells about what we’re passing. There are stops along the way with people who are a part of the experience. They have microphones and they do demonstrations (sled dogs, a Piper Super Cub taking off from and landing on the river for us, a long leisurely stop at an Athabaskan Village with a rotation of 3 entertaining/intriguing education sessions! Loved this riverboat experience THOROUGHLY! It was outstanding!
Written July 9, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Riverboat Discovery - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

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