Director Jewels: Visiting Branson with Toddlers: Ride the Ducks

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Visiting Branson with Toddlers: Ride the Ducks

Disclosure: In exchange for my post and to facilitate my honest review of this experience, my family received tickets for this attraction as part of a promotional blogger tour of Branson, MO through US Family Guide. No other compensation was received and all opinions expressed are my own.


Easily recognized as one of Branson's popular attractions, Ride the Ducks is an experience you have to have at some point while exploring the city. The 60-70 minute tour takes passengers on a ride in a DUCK vehicle from the Branson strip to Table Rock Lake for a trip like no other!

At the end of this post, I'll be sharing 6 Tips for Taking Toddlers to Ride the Ducks, so stay tuned for that!


All I knew about this tour before heading into it was that the Duck vehicle is amphibious - meaning, it can drive from the road right into Table Rock Lake! It is pretty cool to see a vehicle that actually has this capability, and even neater to ride in it!


Our Ride the Ducks tour was in the evening, after a busy day at White Water park. The kids were pretty sleepy, so they were fairly content to sit beside us and watch the scenery roll by. We purchased a "Wacky Quacker" for each of them and were treated to the sound of very loud quacking throughout the tour.


What I didn't realize is that we would be treated to a historical collection of facts about the DUKW vehicle that were the idea behind Ride the Ducks. After the DUKWs were decommissioned from the military after World War II, they were used to create the most interesting tour vehicle in Branson (or elsewhere)!


The Ducks that passengers can ride in today are built from the ground up exclusively for Ride The Ducks and its partners. They resemble the WWII DUKW in appearance and use the latest in marine design and safety. DUKWs were first built by General Motors in 1942 and were basically a truck enclosed in a water-tight shell. The history shared with us by our Captain (who has been driving Ducks for years) was fascinating!


In our Duck, we got to travel to the top of some Ozark hills, to view other WWII era vehicles nestled in the hilltops. Stories were shared of patriotism and veterans were asked to raise their hands. I love that the American spirit is alive and well in this beautiful city.


The view of Table Rock Lake from atop the hill next to the flag pictured above was simply breathtaking. My photos don't begin to do it justice! I would love, someday, to take this tour again in the fall. The colors would be stunning.


After the travel and historical section of our trip, it was time to hit the water - literally! We drove down an entrance to the lake (near Showboat Branson Belle, which we had visited earlier in our trip). After some safety instructions in case we hit an emergency (unlikely), the Captain took our Duck for a drive straight off the road and into the lake!


I admit: I was scared. Flying at the water in a car is generally frowned upon, so it was a relief when all went as planned: we started floating right along, and our vehicle seemed to transform into a boat! The water was just below our windows - close enough that we could touch it. Addie did her very best to dive overboard, because she had had so much fun swimming on our trip so far!

The boat stayed out on the water for about 25 minutes, and it was a nice, relaxing trip. I wouldn't have wanted to stay on the lake much longer than that, so it was perfect. Lincoln was lulled to sleep before we even got to the water, so he missed the coolest part of the experience! Poor guy was worn out!


Top Tips for Taking Toddlers to Ride the Ducks.

1. There are No Seat Belts on the Duck. Since this tourist attraction is centered around the experience of riding in a vehicle similar to an ex-military DUKW, they are equipped for tourism and not transporting kids in car seats. I was a little bit worried about having my kids able to look out windows and try to get out of my lap while we were in movement. If you have a spirited kid, you may feel safer having this experience when they are old enough to sit still beside you!

2. You Might Get Wet! Warn your little ones in advance so that they'll think it's a fun adventure, and not be totally freaked out when water heads their way.

3. Kids 3 and Under are Free - But You Still Need a Ticket. Both of my kids were young enough for free admission, but don't leave them out when you order tickets! This tour is very popular in Branson, so an accurate count of passengers is essential.

4. Kids - even little ones - Can Drive the Duck! Once you have splashed down into Table Rock Lake, your captain will give passengers the opportunity to take turns driving the Duck through the water! Lincoln was asleep by this point in our tour, or he would have been thrilled. We'll definitely have to go again someday so he can have this chance!

5. Food Is Allowed on the Duck. Bring snacks, mamas! Your toddlers will thank you when they tire of riding.

6. There Are No Restrooms On Board. People with small bladders probably need to visit the restroom in the gift shop before heading out on this adventure!


You can find out more and purchase tickets to Ride the Ducks here - plus make sure you are following on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest updates! 

Disclosure: In exchange for my post and to facilitate my honest review of this experience, my family received tickets for this attraction as part of a promotional blogger tour of Branson, MO through US Family Guide. No other compensation was received and all opinions expressed are my own. For more info, you can view my Disclosure Policy.

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