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“Wonderful Surprise”

Riverboat Discovery
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: More than just a boat ride! Board the Sternwheeler Riverboat Discovery for one of the most unique Alaskan experiences available! This three-hour cruise will take you into the heart of Alaska and introduce you to a family who has made the rivers of Alaska a way of life for five generations. You will see a bush floatplane takeoff alongside the boat, visit the home and kennels of the late four-time Iditarod winner Susan Butcher and see her champion sled dogs in action. Be immersed into the ancient Athabascan Indian culture when our Alaskan Native Guides take you on a personalized tour of the Chena Indian Village.
Useful Information: Wheelchair access, Bathroom facilities, Stairs / lift, Food available for purchase
Reviewed 26 August 2014

My wife and I were expecting, you know, a river cruise. What we got was a wonderfully well done half-day experience replete with both educational and fun on-board and ashore experiences. The others on the cruise--all strangers--had the same reaction.

Thank whluden
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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1,080 - 1,084 of 1,565 reviews

Reviewed 24 August 2014

Our trip to Alaska would not be so interesting if it wasn't for these exciting tour. The staff was very friendly, all tour was very well and timely organized. Left deep impression about Fairbanks and its indigenous ancestors. Definately worth doing it!!!!

Thank HappyChris008
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 August 2014 via mobile

While expecting the typical tourist boat trip, Riverboat Discovery provided not only the river trip, but an insight into Alaskan life in the Anchorage area. Watching a bush pilot take off and land near the boat and later learning and seeing sled dog life was amazing. Later getting insights into the Cheena culture was fascinating. All in all the Riverboat Discovery was entertaining and provided a great learning experience as well.

Thank Al O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 August 2014

While in Fairbanks AK, as part of our Princess Land Tour, we boarded the Riverboat Discovery III, a sternwheeler, owned by the Binkley family. They have been in the boating business for over 100 years, a business that started off in the early days as a steamboat freight business. Later, as times changed, they wanted to share their knowledge of the surrounding area. so they bought their first passenger excursion boat, which held 25 people. As the business grew, so did the boats. The present one will hold 900 people and you honestly you do not feel crowded anywhere on the three decks. A great narrator shares what you are seeing via 19 overhead monitors, so no matter where you are seated, you can see what he is describing. At one point, a float plane takes off and lands right next to the boat. Very interesting. You travel on the Chena River and at one point that river joins the Tanana River, there is a visible difference between the two. As you travel along, the scenery is wonderful. The boat stops at the Trail Breaker Kennels, belonging to the family of Susan Butcher. Susan was a 4 time winner of the Iditorod Race, and her family shares their love of the dog sledding business and they give you a dog sledding demonstration. This is seen from the left side of the boat, but all can see from the monitors. This was fun to watch. The dogs love it and jump into the water after the race to cool off. We made about an hour stop and got off the boat at a replica of an old Chena Indian Village and learned about the ancient Athabascan Indian culture. Local guides shared their history with us and one of the highlights was seeing a beautiful fur parka, modeled by a very beautiful girl. We really enjoyed this lazy day on the river and all that we saw and learned.

Thank MNGal66
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 August 2014

We (my 18 y old son and I) were disappointed. Maybe good to mention, before arriving here we already visited musea on culture and history and visited a dog kennel.
For starters it is only a short stretch on the river and back. It takes 3 hours just because the speed is so low. The visit to a reproduction of an Athabascan Indian village was nice. It gives you an idea of how they lived. Also nice to see was the dog mushing. But everything that was shown or told had a commercial undertone. The majority of passengers comes from tour buses/cruise lines and are 60+. They are dropped at the gift shop, get to see the dogs without even having to move, get out of the boat at the Indian Village, make a rush to get to the free salmon samples on the way back.
Not our idea of learning about the culture and history.
So, if your not traveling with a cruise company, don't go there.

1  Thank Ingrid D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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