Results 1-10of 13 Reviews
July 5, 2011
From journal Boston and surrounding area
September 22, 2005
The tour includes all the major sites in Boston, including the Prudential Center, Public Garden, Boston Common, State House, and Faneuil Hall. It also covers parts of neighboring Charlestown, including the Bunker Hill Monument and USS Constitution. The conductors are knowledgeable and very entertaining to boot. They point out the major sights as you're driving by, as well as add little tidbits about the city that even natives may not know.
The best part of the tour by far is the "Splashdown" in the Charles River, which occurs by the dam next to the Museum of Science. The tour bus literally becomes a boat and paddles down the river, giving the patrons an excellent view of both the Boston skyline and Cambridge side of the river. It was very enjoyable to see the city from this vantage point. Even though I live here, it's not a view you see every day.
From journal Boston - Tourist in My Own City
by Emily Marie
Bronx, New York
December 11, 2003
So what does Wisconsin have to do with Boston? Well, in this case, ducks! Over the last ten years or so have been touring around Boston and up and down the Charles River.
The tours depart from the back entrance of the Pru Center, by the Huntington Avenue entrance to the mall. Tickets are sold in the mall itself, near the Levi's store. The land part of the tour takes you past many of the sites that trolley tours would. Some sites are Quincy Market, the Commons and Public Garden, and the Museum of Science. Once you pass the museum though, you go where no trolley has gone before.
It is here that the Duck goes down a ramp and into the river. It's a short ride up and down the Charles River along the Esplanade. Some of the drivers will let passengers steer the vehicle at this point, if they wish. There's nothing to hit, so there's little to worry about.
Just as the drivers have different opinions on letting passengers drive, they all have extremely different personalities. They all seem to have their own characters. Some dress as yacht captains, others in military fatigues, and still others as jungle explorers. The drivers are half the fun of the tours. They are humorous, and try to rouse up audience participation. For instance, since they are duck drivers, they try to get the passengers to quack on command, or when quacked at by people on the sidewalks.
The rides and drivers are entertaining. The idea is novel and the water part of the tour takes you where only a handful of the numerous Boston boat tours go (most go from the Long Wharf out east into the harbor, not west down the Charles). On the downside, these are military surplus vehicles and weren't made for comfort. The seats aren't too bad, but they are smelly diesel guzzlers. I also remember a report on WHDH-TV once pointing out that the drivers will often put entertainment ahead of fact. In a comparison between the duck tours and the enduring trolley tours, they found some duck drivers giving misinformation about major Boston area sites. Another major difference between the ducks and the trolleys is that you can get on and off the trolleys at any designated sites. Duck tours are non-stop and last about 90 minutes or so.
The Ducks are unique and offer a tour that no other tour company in Boston can. They are a fun way to kill an hour or so. If you're looking to learn stuff about Boston, or want to get to know Boston on a more intimate level though, it might be better to find a trolley stop.
From journal Baseball, Boston
Durham, United Kingdom
October 25, 2003
One of the more irritating parts of the tour is the obligation to "quack quack" at other ducks you pass, and sometimes at pedestrians. I'm a grumpy so and so.
The whale watch is something else. Take care with your choice of operator. There are numerous stalls for different operators and I'm sure they are all reputable, but some offer some serious advantages (they are all about $25/$30 per person).
1. Some operators give you a free ride on another day if you don't see whales.
2. The half-day tours are not necessarily better than the two-hour tours. It might just mean a slower boat and a longer ride out to the Stellwegen Bank. I'd take a faster boat. If the whales are moving around, you have a better chance of a good view.
When we went, we saw quite a few humpback and some finback whales. These are big ones. They may not surface near to the boat, so if you want good pictures, your camera needs to be up to the job. Ours wasn't, so even though we had good firsthand views (which was every bit as good as you'd think), our photos were rubbish.
The tour is led by a guide who stands out front with his/her binoculars (a useful thing to have to hand) and points out whales when he/she spots them. This means you are invariably dashing from one side of the boat to the other. All part of the fun.
From journal Sightseeing in Boston
May 9, 2002
Duck tours are the best way to see the sites of Boston in a short time – even if city tours remind you of 6th grade social studies. Although the ConDUCKtors know everything about Boston, it’s their stage skills that keep me bringing out-of-town guests back for a ride. Where else can you quack at strangers in public without people wondering if you’ve just been released from a psychiatric institution?
So what’s a Duck? A Duck is an amphibious vehicle the military invented and used to move supplies and people from ship to shore during World War II. On land they’re trucks, in the water they’re boats. Not only do you get a tour of Boston, but also a taste of what the Greatest Generation was working with in WWII. You really have to wonder how America managed to win a war by storming the beaches of Normandy in these things. Someone discovered these relics in a junkyard somewhere and the idea of Duck Tours was born. (I wish I had thought of it first!)
The Duck Tours start at the Prudential Center. As you board the Duck, you’re greeted by the conDUCKtor. Ours was "The Sarge," a burly, but lovable guy whose territorial dispute with a real duck had our Duck in stitches. As the tour wound through Beacon Hill and the West End, Sarge narrated the sites and history of Boston in such an entertaining way that I wished he had been my 6th grade history teacher. In addition to Cheers, the Common, the Fleet Center, the State House and other major sites, you’ll learn about the "Taj MaJail" and the Harvard Bridge that is 364.4 Smoots plus one ear long.
The best moment is "the Big Splash." The Duck transforms from bus to boat and splashes into the Charles River. The Duck swims up the river as far as the Hatch Shell. Better yet, they let you drive the Duck! Not on the streets of Boston of course but on the river. (Driving in Boston is crazy enough in a car!) Even kids can drive! Don’t worry. The Ducks don’t move very fast and there’s not much to hit in the river. You even get a sticker to prove that you drove! Don't be shy. Drive the duck!
After about a ½ hour on the river, the Duck storms the beaches of the Charles River and the land part of the tour continues through Charlestown, the North End, the Theater District and back to the Prudential Center. (OK, there’s no storming of beaches, but I’m still wondering how we fought a war with these things.)
Tours run rain or shine from April 1 to December 1. Tickets sell out quickly in summer and on weekends. Unless you have a group of 16 or more, you can’t make reservations but you can buy tickets up to two days in advance online or in person. Check out www.bostonducktours.com for full details.
From journal The Best of Boston
May 4, 2002
From journal Exploring Boston
August 8, 2000
From journal Boston - Like a Resident or a Tourist
Los Angeles, California
May 14, 2004
From journal AHH + BOSTON = BAHHSTON
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
October 12, 2003
The tour guides are all fantastic and really make the experience. All people on the trip have to quack; however, the most amazing thing is that the locals, including a police car we passed, quack back!
If you are staying in Boston for a few days, I would higly recommend this trip as it lets you get around the city, learn about the history, and get a wacky feel of Boston within a couple of hours.
From journal 30th Birthday suprise
August 18, 2003
Many visitors and new residents enjoy the Duck Tour of Boston, something most people choose to do only once. At US$23 per adult, it is quite expensive. However, group admission allowed our company to offer the tours for $10/person.
Each amphibious vehicle holds 32 people. The duck travels around Boston on land before returning to the Charles and touring the water. The tour encircles the Boston Commons and Gardens, goes past the Pru, and through Fanueil Hall and the North End.
Tickets and more information is available at the Boston Duck Tours website.
From journal The Hub of the Universe