Experience Philadelphia's Duck Tours. Sight-see from a duck's eye view by touring historic Philadelphia on land passing sites like the Liberty Bell, Congress Hall, Washington Square, South Street, Penn's Landing, Elfreth's Alley, the Betsy Ross House and much more. Then it'll take you for a 20 minute cruise around the Delaware River all from the same vehicle. No restrooms on board.
What an enjoyable excursion Ride The Ducks is for all ages! I had heard about this activity but never taken the time to partake. I live less than an hour from Philadelphia so it was always one of those things I might get to one day. I'm glad we finally went!
My family of five went in late August. We reserved a time to ride ahead of time, which might be desirable if you have a timetable you'd like to stick to, or you want to be sure to ride that day. Looking for a discount? You can save up to $7 (on online-purchased tickets only) when you ride before 11:00 am or after 5 pm. (Not available on 3-day holiday weekends). The ride is free for babies 0-2 years, and free with the purchase of a Philadelphia Pass.
There were no crowds when we went, although our boat had a good number of seats filled. Tickets are available at the booth at 6th and Market Streets where you can walk right up, or online ahead of time so you can be spontaneous or schedule your trip for a specific time. The people running the tours and promoting them were very nice, not at all pushy - and they were helpful (one gal even made sure my 7-year-old crossed the street safely. Thank you!)
You need to arrive about 20 minutes prior to your boarding time. When it's time to go, they take your picture on the steps of the boat (which you can purchase after the trip), and then you are seated. The captain takes the time to go over safety tips, show you where the lifejackets are located and how to use them, and generally what will happen on the trip and why. Our captain (Ted) was well informed and made sure everyone understood things, was comfortable and happy and had their questions answered before we took off!
ALL AGES/MOST WEATHER CONDITIONS
Guests of all ages can ride on the Duck tour, which is great for families touring the area as a group or for those looking for something for a variety of age groups to do together. We had children, young adults, parents and grandparents on our tour all enjoying the sights. There is no walking except to board the boat so even those less physically able can enjoy themselves. We had a perfect day, weatherwise, which made it nice to cruise about, although I have seen other reviewers comment that it is nice on rainy days as well, as you are covered.
Your captain will educate you in a fun and interactive way about this incredibly historic section of Philadelphia - perhaps the most historic area in the country. Having lived here all my life I still learned things, so chances are your group will as well. They also make it fun for the kids so it's not just a boring lecture on old buildings. They start out the 70 minute ride by going past Independence Hall and head towards South Street and Penn's Landing. They play music to go along with the area you are cruising through so it's cohesive and fun. Your captain will tell you about fun buildings you pass or interesting murals, statues, cemeteries, parks, streets etc. and the people who lived or worked there. You can people-watch as well or sing along when the music is on. There is enough to see on either side of the boat, so no need to clamor to one side or the other. Bring your camera as there are no windows and you are not moving very quickly so you can snap some nice shots.
IN THE WATER
When you reach Penn's Landing and it's time to enter the water, your captain will tell you so so that you're not surprised. Another captain will board at the dock and remain at the back of the boat. You're asked if you want a big or little splash as you enter the water - and off you go! You are then able to see the Camden shoreline, sights by the river, bridges and more. You'll pass a RTD checkpoint with a water navigator overseeing this part of the ride and regulating traffic and safety. You'll learn some fun facts about this area and then return to the dock to continue back through the city.
Think you know it all about Philadelphia or you won't learn anything fun? My kids (13, 11 & 7) still talk about what Dolly Madison's favorite ice cream flavors were - a trivia tidbit they picked up on this tour.
They used to give out the plastic "quackers" at the beginning of the ride, although I think it got too noisy, so now they give them out at the end and have the kiddos "earn" them along the ride by singing, clapping and participating. It's no pressure and actually enjoyable as you can hear what the captain is pointing out rather than just listening to a boat ride of quacking!
Overall I think Ride The Ducks is a great opportunity for groups or families of all ages to enjoy time together while seeing and learning a little about the city in a fun and interactive way!
*This review is based on a complimentary visit to Ride the Ducks, Philadelphia. I received no other compensation and the business owner did not state any requirements that I express a particular point of view. The opinions I express are entirely my own.
When out-of-town family was visiting in the fall, we went did the Ride the Ducks tour of Philadelphia. Unfortunately, it was a cold, rainy afternoon, but we still had a fun time on our Duck Tour. It was a decent way to see some of the sights without being soaking wet. Even our 9 month old seemed to enjoy a ride on the Duck, and he certainly enjoyed the noisy quackers! This is not a get on and off tour, which was fine for a rainy day like we had. Fun, rowdy and a little bit informative, this is a nice way to see the sights.
This was a great way to see Philadelphia from a different perspective, as you get to not only drive around the historic section, but you get to experience it from the water as well. You board a WWII amphibious landing vehicle and off you go. The tour guides are silly, but you learn some interesting facts along the way. You get a quaker, which they encourage you to quack from time to time. My kids loved the quakers and still have and use them. When you've walked enough, this tour is perfect. I think Boston's Duck Tour is the best, but this is pretty good.