After we finished up at the Ripley’s Museum, we headed over to do a Ride the Ducks tour. M decided to step out, and not join Q and I on the tour. We arrived at the booth and discovered that there were spots available on the next tour, which left in 15 min. Perfect! No waiting meant a happy kid.
We paid and bought our quackers for the trip. We had our picture taken before boarding and then grabbed out seats. Q was literally bouncing with excitement about the upcoming tour. We had our quackers at the ready, and the excitement just continued to build as our captain boarded. He introduced himself as Captain Mike, explained that on this tour there was no seriousness allowed, fun was mandatory, and adults were not permitted to take themselves seriously for the next 2 hours. He told us that during our tour, we could expect lots of music and singing, information about the city, and a whole bunch of fun. He wasn’t kidding.
And off we went! Singing, quacking and rocking our way down the street, learning facts about all the different areas of the city. Did you know that there is only one In-n-out burger in all of San Francisco? Captain Mike pointed out Lombard street, one of the world’s crookedest streets. He asked if anyone would like to drive down that long, steep, crazy street and of course Q was all over that. Ha, we don’t call him the crazy kid for nothing!
We saw a less touristy part of Chinatown and where to get authentic dim sum, drove through North Beach and learned where to get the best pasta, and learned how to spot a banker in his natural habitat in the Financial District (he is wearing a full suit in 100° weather). We saw the movie theatre that Godzilla destroyed in the most recent movie, learned that there are 171 Starbucks in the city of San Francisco, saw the club where Carlos Santana and Robin Williams used to test out new material on patrons who paid the enormous cover price of $1.50, and saw parts of the city that were built on top of areas or with materials that were damaged in the big earthquake.
Next up came the part of the tour that we had all been waiting for. After a short safety briefing, Captain Mike revved the engines, turned on some encouraging music (The Imperial March) and drove down the ramp straight into the San Francisco Bay. Yup, right into the bay. We learned all about the history of the DUKW, as well as some of the missions that it was used for during World War II. These vehicles were the ones that delivered troops to shore in some of the bloodiest battles, and brought the casualties back. They delivered supplies to the troops, and took a lot of losses, but just kept on going.
We saw some big ships that were used in the Gulf War and are now docked in the harbour.
We drove around AT&T park where the San Francisco Giants baseball team plays. It is a really neat stadium, and one side opens out onto the harbour. Because of this, there are often what are called “splash hits”, which is when a player hits the ball out into the harbour. We learned about the lengths that people will go to to try and retrieve balls hit by famous players, including using diving equipment, dogs, and personal watercraft. It is insane! We even saw a few baseballs floating around in the water – clearly not from anyone famous, haha.
Then, much to everyone’s excitement, Captain Mike stepped out of his seat to let some of the smaller passengers have a turn driving our boat, I mean bus, I mean duck. Q was thrilled to get a turn taking us for a turn (and I mean that literally, he actually did a turn) around the harbour.
After everyone had taken a turn, it was time to head back for shore. To a chorus of groans of disappointment, Captain Mike headed back, regaling us with tales all the way. We were even visited by a seal, who swam alongside us for a few minutes.
As we got closer to the ramp that we would be driving up, I know that I wondered just what was going to have to happen to get this boat/bus/duck out of the water and back on the road. After all, we still had some tour time left! Captain Mike cranked on the tunes (Ride of the Valkyries) and told us that we were going to need to cheer our duck on. And cheer we did. To everyone’s amazement, sloooooowly up the ramp we went, up and out of the water. We stopped for a few minutes at the to purge the water out, and away we went again.
We drove along the waterfront and saw several of the piers. We saw the Bay Bridge and heard the story of its reconstruction after the last earth quake.
We saw Alcatraz from afar. We drove along the Embarcadero and saw the Cupid’s Span statue, which was donated to the city by the founders of The Gap clothing chain. It is said to signify all of the love in San Francisco.
We saw the front of AT &T park and the tribute to and statue of Willie Mays.
We got to see the TransAmerica tower and Coit tower from afar, and learned that the Coit tower is 210 ft tall.
Then, after trying to get some passersby to clap along with our music (we did, in case you are wondering, including some firemen), some more quacking and singing, we rolled back into the wharf and the tour was over.
All in all, Q and I had a great time and a lot of fun. Was it cheesy? Yes, of course it was. Did we get to see the city and learn some interesting stuff? You betcha. It was totally worth the ticket price for us, and I’m sure we’d go on a tour in another city if we had the opportunity. We would recommend it as a great, hilarious and fun activity for both kids and adults.
In the interest of keeping these short and readable, I am going to continue to break them up into parts. If you are not caught up on our adventures yet, you can find them here and here, and here. Next up, we explore Fisherman’s Wharf.
I was not compensated or asked to mention any of the businesses or locations on this trip. I am sharing them with you in hopes that you might find fun places or things to check out on your next trip. All opinions are strictly our own.