As a transplanted New Englander, I am painfully missing the ocean. So on a hot summer night just a week ago, I decided to play tourist in my own town, and get myself out onto the water.
The Mississippi Explorer is both a family-friendly and couples-friendly activity. The onboard biologist, who skillfully narrates for the first hour of the two-hour cruise, seamlessly integrates children aboard the boat into his "crew,' naming them as junior biologists and assigning them to play "show and tell" with the guests. But don't let that description deter you from considering this as proper date-night recreation. For the adult crowd, the cruise is a serene escape from weekday busy-ness, made even better by gorgeous sunsets, frequent eagle sightings and intelligent narration. To top it off: the captain permits guests to bring their own drinks and snacks. We came equipped with a softside cooler full of craft beer, cheese and crackers, and fresh fruit.
A few things you might be wondering:
- You can reserve your tickets online; print a copy of your confirmation to give to the ticket-taker at the dock.
- Arrive well in advance to find good parking (around Riverside Park can be tricky -- there are some public ramps a block or so away). The crowd will be competing for the limited bench seats on the bow (uncovered); these have the best view, but are exposed, so bring sunscreen or a rain jacket as appropriate. Indoor seating is plentiful and comfortable with upholstered seats around the perimeter of the cabin ... but these afford limited views.
- There is a head at the stern. I recommend your bring hand sanitizer.