*I received complimentary tickets to facilitate a review. As always, my opinions are my own
One of the beauty’s of being in Chattanooga is that it sits right on the Tennessee River. Which is actually what makes Chattanooga, well, Chattanooga. There is so much history and wildlife that calls the Tennessee River home. What better way to learn it then ON the River. The River Gorge Explorer is owned and operated through the Tennessee Aquarium and walking distance from the aquarium. The two hour tour takes you 26 miles through the Tennessee River exploring all the education that the river has to offer.
When you first take off you are seated, inside the cabin which is temperature controlled (awesome break time if you are experiencing Chattanooga in the summer). The educated guide informs you of the history of Chattanooga, like the first bridge that crossed the river. The bridge was wooden and was taken down many moons before from a flood. A flood in which Chattanooga flooded as well. So much to the point where a boat could actually ride down Broad St. I thought that was interesting.
There are several resources the guide uses to educate you on your tour. From TV screens, shells maps and just nature itself.
The ride is a fun one! They travel around 50 MPH and make several sudden stops on the way. Please note that there may be more boats, etc that are on the river the more they will stop. We went on a very pleasant day, had several stops along the way but not enough to make it overrated. I was also concerned that there wasn’t going to be a bathroom on board, but I assure you that there is, as well as, snack and beverages that you can purchase on board.
About half way through the tour they will slow down enough that you can go to the top and explore there. They had binoculars to share and educational material handy if you seen bird or animal that you wanted to know more about. We also seen several turtles on the shore line.
As we arrived closer to the dock to were able to head back up to the top deck. At that point they did a little 360 view so you can see the surrounding downtown area via the river. It was a great tour and a must when visiting Chattanooga. I can’t imagine how beautiful it must be during the fall (do I hear a fall trip in the works)!
Tickets for the River Gorge Explorer are $32 for adults, $24.50 for children 3-12 and $18 for 3-under. But you can get a discount with the purchase of an aquarium ticket. Special pricing is $27 per adult, $21 for 12 and under.
We had a blast and would definitely recommend it when you visit Chattanooga!