Fairbanks - Discovery Paddleboat

Fairbanks Travel Blog

 › entry 90 of 167 › view all entries
Riverboat Discovery

 

We went on “the #1 Fairbanks tourist attraction” - the Paddleboat Discovery III.  It was awesome.  Really!  It wasn’t just a boat ride.  The Binkley Family, who has been running paddleboats since the Gold Rush, contracted with different parties to provide an educational, entertaining tour.  The commentator’s day job is at the radio and he was predictably terrific.  Video monitors throughout the large boat were also well-utilized.

 

First, we witnessed a float plane takeoff and landing on the river beside us. 

 

Then we met a dog trainer and Iditarod contestant, Brent Sass.

Dixie's beautiful parka at the Athabascan Village
  They had a wireless microphone that used the paddleboat’s sound system so that he could stand on the Chena River’s shore and talk to us.  We even got to see the dogs hooked up in harness and they flew around with an ATV attached instead of a sled, reaching speeds up to 20 mph.  It was great!  Here's his website:  http://www.wildandfreealaska.com/

 

This dog training facility was also special because it was the home of the late Susan Butcher, who is one of the greatest Iditarod winners of all times.  She won 4 times before Leukemia took her too early at age 51 in 2006, leaving 2 young daughters and a husband, who were out on a family vacation during our visit.  If you’re interested, there is a fascinating occurrence (sad though) from Susan’s Iditarod in 1985, which is the subject of an Emmy-nominated short film for this year. 

 

Then the Discovery took us to an authentic Indian Village where we disembarked and went to 4 different areas of the village for well-articulated and interesting lessons.

Riverboat Discovery - Dog team pulling the ATV
  Brent Sass was there to discuss the dog racing.  Dixie, who is an expert seamstress and had a coat made for the Smithsonian in Washington, had gorgeous parkas and did a salmon cutting demonstration.  We learned of the different animals hunted for subsistence, hunting techniques, pelts, housing based on timeframe, and had two high school guides who were both entertaining and terrific examples for our kids.

 

On the way back down the river, we were given an appetizer of some salmon dip, and bought a can of delicious smoked salmon for ourselves.  We bought some reindeer hot dogs to try, which was similar to a tougher hot dog or sausage.  While I do understand that meats common in this part of the world, it is still hard to eat it after having seen real reindeer on the trip!  The Discovery team also distributed surveys, which explained a lot.  If you’re looking for a business to copy for perceived value, excellent staff, entertainment, and professionalism, this one would be at the top of the list.  We were terribly impressed with the entire tour.

  http://fairbanks-alaska.com/riverboat-discovery.htm

 

Afterward we visited the nearby Fred Meyer’s store, which was like a big Walmart.  Fresh shrimp and scallops were reasonably priced and we feasted on them in the RV.  Life is good!

 

 

 

 

Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Riverboat Discovery
Riverboat Discovery
Dixies beautiful parka at the Ath…
Dixie's beautiful parka at the At…
Riverboat Discovery - Dog team pul…
Riverboat Discovery - Dog team pu…
Riverboat Discovery
Riverboat Discovery
Riverboat Discovery
Riverboat Discovery
Riverboat Discovery
Riverboat Discovery
Riverboat Discovery
Riverboat Discovery
Riverboat Discovery- float plane d…
Riverboat Discovery- float plane …
Riverboat Discovery- Brent Sass wi…
Riverboat Discovery- Brent Sass w…
Riverboat Discovery- Harnessing up…
Riverboat Discovery- Harnessing u…
Riverboat Discovery - Dog team pul…
Riverboat Discovery - Dog team pu…
Riverboat Discovery - Dog team pul…
Riverboat Discovery - Dog team pu…
Riverboat Discovery
Riverboat Discovery
Riverboat Discovery - Carribou
Riverboat Discovery - Carribou
Riverboat Discovery - Moss house
Riverboat Discovery - Moss house
Riverboat Discovery - Native Ameri…
Riverboat Discovery - Native Amer…
Riverboat Discovery - Native Ameri…
Riverboat Discovery - Native Amer…
Riverboat Discovery - Athabascan r…
Riverboat Discovery - Athabascan …
Riverboat Discovery - Homemade fla…
Riverboat Discovery - Homemade fl…
Riverboat Discovery - folks enjoyi…
Riverboat Discovery - folks enjoy…
Riverboat Discovery - Dixie gives …
Riverboat Discovery - Dixie gives…
Riverboat Discovery - Dixie shows …
Riverboat Discovery - Dixie shows…
Passengers disembark at the Athaba…
Passengers disembark at the Athab…
Dixies summer cottage at the Atha…
Dixie's summer cottage at the Ath…
Dixies chief coat and dress at th…
Dixie's chief coat and dress at t…
Dixies chief coat and dress at th…
Dixie's chief coat and dress at t…
Dixies beautiful parka at the Ath…
Dixie's beautiful parka at the At…
Demonstrating a moose call:  Here…
Demonstrating a moose call: "Her…
Transportable home covered with fu…
Transportable home covered with f…
Brent Sasss presentation on dog t…
Brent Sass's presentation on dog …
Brent Sasss presentation on dog t…
Brent Sass's presentation on dog …
Fish camp presentation at Athabasc…
Fish camp presentation at Athabas…
Fur pelts demonstration
Fur pelts demonstration
Fish Catcher- turns with the curre…
Fish Catcher- turns with the curr…
Birch bark house
Birch bark house
Fairbanks in the distance (Univers…
Fairbanks in the distance (Univer…
Fairbanks
photo by: Hummingbird