Editor's Note: This story was originally published in May 2010. It has been updated by Seattle's Child staff.
Maybe you've seen them already – the boats on wheels driving around Seattle, filled with raucous passengers, driven by a microphone-wearing tour leader. Our family decided to be tourists in our own town and Ride the Ducks! Ducks are World War II amphibious vehicles that reach a top speed on land of 38 miles per hour and motor effortlessly on Lake Union.
Our captain was "Oliver D. Road," and he was a fast-talking, easy-laughing driver, tour guide and mischief instigator. Whenever he pointed out a Starbucks, our response was to yell "Lattes!" as loud as we could. Touring on a duck means that the information you learn is always a little off-kilter. For example, I had never before put two and two together and noticed that the heart of Pioneer Square is actually a triangle. The tour goes from downtown to Fremont, into the Lake, and back for about a 90-minute trip. Our captain went through six silly hats and one wig in that time.
The tours leave just across the street from the Experience Music Project, so it's easy to find. Ducks depart every hour from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., but more Ducks are added as volume increases throughout the summer. Although the ducks are covered all-weather vehicles, be sure to bundle up if it's cloudy. The sides are open air and it got quite breezy. Also, have cash on hand to benefit from the less expensive cash-only parking lots nearby the departure office as well as to tip your captain. You have the option to purchase a "quacker" noisemaker with your ticket.
My seven-year-old had a great time, and although he could not be induced to sing along with the Spongebob Squarepants theme song on the P.A. system, he made great use of his quacker. Ride the Ducks is a great way to see Seattle from a completely different point of view. This would be an excellent way to introduce visiting friends and family to Seattle, especially if they're in the mood for something crazy!
IF YOU GO
Where: Ride the Ducks, Fifth Avenue and Broad Street, Seattle
When: Departs Monday-Thursday, 9:20 a.m. until 6 p.m.; Friday-Sunday, 9:20 a.m. until 7 p.m.
Cost: Adults $28, chldren (2 to 12 years old) $17, babies (under 2 years old) $1. Quacker, $2 additional.
Contact: www.ridetheducksofseattle.com; 206-441-3825.
Machelle Allman is a Seattle educator and mom of a second-grader.