Thursday, July 19, 2018

Down For Adventure in Pittsburgh with Just Ducky Tours

Down For Adventure in Pittsburgh with Just Ducky Tours

I partnered with Just Ducky Tours for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.

As often as I say that I want to move to the beach, I do realize that Pittsburgh is a wonderful place to raise children, and that we're lucky to live so close to the city! Pittsburgh has some of the best universities, hospitals, doctors, museums, and professional sports teams, and has an amazing cultural district that appeals to any lover of the performing arts.  Pittsburgh ranks as one of the most livable cities in the United States, one of the best places to raise a family, and one of the best cities to visit. (I can also attest to the fact that it's a great place for a child who has Down syndrome!)


There are so many fun family-friendly activities in Pittsburgh, and my own family loves to spend the day in the city! It's just a short drive south from the suburbs, and there's no denying that Pittsburgh is a  beautiful place to visit. No matter how many times I experience it, my breath still catches every time the first bridge and skyscraper come into view as we approach the city.

On Monday, we decided to have a staycation day, and tour our city! We did it the way every Pittsburgh tourist should...with a Just Ducky Tour. We quack quack quacked our way through the city, and directly into the river without changing vehicles, learning fun facts about Pittsburgh along the way! (If you're wondering how that's even possible, read on!)



Just Ducky Tours is a fully narrated tour of Pittsburgh, both on land and in the water, thanks to the use of DUKW's! The DUKW (pronounced DUCK) is an amphibious truck that was built during WWII. The hour long tour takes you through the streets of Pittsburgh, and into one of the rivers. The driver and the guide narrate the entire tour, and once in the river, the driver moves aside to let some passengers steer the boat. It is a great way to experience some of the best things about Pittsburgh!


Just Ducky Tours in Pittsburgh

We were all looking forward to the tour! My husband took the day off work, and he kept telling our kids how he saw the tour go by every day when he was at school (it still passes by the college he attended), but never expected to be on it one day with his four children! Dylan and Lexie went on Just Ducky Tours field trips before, so they knew what to expect. Even though Lexie had just gone on a tour in May, she was looking forward to doing it again. All Lily wanted to do was steer the boat, which the tour guide promised she would get to do. I, however, worried a bit about how I was going to take pictures to document our experience while keeping Liam (AKA the Tiny Tornado) in his seat. Spoiler alert: I was pleasantly surprised! 

CHECKING IN


The tour begins in historic Station Square. Just Ducky Tours has a storefront where you can check in, and it's full of fun souvenirs. The staff was friendly, and check in was a breeze! If you're going with kids, they're going to want a Quacker for the ride. (Mine definitely did! And that includes the teenager, which was a huge surprise!) It's recommended that you check in 45 minutes before the tour begins, which is exactly what we did.

Just Ducky Tours in Pittsburgh

WHILE YOU WAIT


The boarding area is across the street from the storefront, and there is plenty to do while you wait! Although you won't have enough time to eat after you check in, they do give you a coupon to Hard Rock Cafe, which is right next to the boarding area. My family opted to check out the awesome fountain, and go up on The Landing to get a great aerial view of the city, the rivers, and Station Square.

Station Square in Pittsburgh

It was a super hot day in Pittsburgh, but the wait wasn't bad. The mist from the fountain helped, Liam had plenty of time to burn off some energy, and my older kids enjoyed the views. Like I always say...there's never a dull moment with our crew (AKA The Chaos Crew).

Life with Down syndrome

First, Lily slipped in a puddle, and fell right into the middle of it. She ended up getting soaked, but she laughed it off (and dried very quickly). Then, a train approached on the nearby tracks. The driver saw Liam watching intently, and blew the whistle for him and waved. WELL...Liam had never been that close to a train before, and the loud whistle sent him running back toward us at top speed with a terrified look on his face. Everybody sitting by the fountain started laughing, and the man driving the train was laughing, too! At least our wait was entertaining!

Down syndrome blogs

Travel with Kids

BOARDING


Finally, it was time to line up to board! The boarding area for the tour is conveniently located along the main street in Station Square. When you check in, you are assigned a flag, and that's where you wait for your DUKW to arrive. Passengers start lining up early, and seating is first come first served, so if you want to sit in the front, or get one of the coveted 6 spots on the back deck, you have to line up early! Shortly after they open the DUKW for boarding, the tour begins!

Down syndrome

Things To Do in Pittsburgh

Down syndrome blog

Activities for families in Pittsburgh

THE CITY SIGHTS


Each DUKW has a driver and a tour guide, and they both narrate the tour. Even though you're learning about Pittsburgh, and hearing historical facts, the guides are very entertaining, which makes it fun! Our tour guides, Jason and Carol, kept us laughing with their witty banter, and frequently involved the pedestrians and other drivers. In case you're wondering, Pittsburgh is a friendly city, and most people played along! And, yes, the guides do encourage the passengers to Quack Quack Quack throughout the tour (or use those Quackers)!

Just Ducky Tours

Just Ducky Tours

Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Bloggers

I don't want to spoil the tour for anyone, so I will just share a few of my favorite sights along the way! The city tour took us by famous Pittsburgh buildings and landmarks, PNC Park (which is one of the most beautiful baseball stadiums in the US), Heinz Field, and more, before...

GOING INTO THE WATER


The DUKW effortlessly moves from the city streets, onto a sidewalk, and down the hill toward the river. It passes by the Water Steps (another must do free activity with kids), and drives directly into the river. I'm not going to lie...it took me a minute to adjust to the fact that the vehicle that was just driving on the street minutes ago, was now floating in the water! And when Liam peeked over the edge of the window, and into the water, the expression on his face was PRICELESS!


Just Ducky Tours

VIEWS FROM THE RIVER


The river tour was probably my favorite! We had an amazing view of our beautiful city from the water. Floating on the river was calming, and I could have easily stayed out there all day.
The tour guide kept her word - Lily was SO excited to be able to drive the boat for a few minutes! In addition to the regular views from the river, we got an extra special treat. The gorgeous American Queen was docked in Pittsburgh that day, and we floated on by!

American Queen

American Queen

American Queen

Heinz Field
Heinz Field

Just Ducky Tours

Fun Things To Do With Kids in Pittsburgh


Pittsburgh Blogger

Carnegie Science Center Submarine
Carnegie Science Center Submarine

Travel with Kids in Pittsburgh

Things To Do in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh skyline

Down syndrome awareness

Pittsburgh Tours

Pittsburgh Skyline

Pittsburgh Incline
Pittsburgh Incline

Pittsburgh Rivers


THE END OF THE TOUR


When the water tour was over, the DUKW had a bumpy exit from the water. It drove up the hill, and back onto the city streets. We saw a few more sights on our return to station square, and the tour guides continued with their hilarious commentary. Although the tour was the perfect length of time, it was so much fun that we didn't really want it to end! We soon arrived back at Station Square, and the vehicle was cleared quickly. (Hint: The tour guides are truly awesome, so don't forget to bring cash for tips!)


Just Ducky Tours

The Immaculate Reception Site
The site of the Immaculate Reception

PNC Park

PNC Park

locks of love in Pittsburgh

PNC Park

Pittsburgh

Globes in Pittsburgh

Just Ducky Tours


WHAT TO DO AFTER THE TOUR


There is so much to do in Pittsburgh with kids! Although we didn't have time to stay in the city longer, I would highly recommend using the discount coupon for Hard Rock Cafe that Just Ducky Tours gives you when you check in, then crossing the street and taking a ride up the incline to Mount Washington. The view of the city from the top is INCREDIBLE!

Mount Washington in Pittsburgh
Station Square, the Pittsburgh Incline, and Mount Washington


OUR EXPERIENCE


My family had so much fun on our Just Ducky Tour! Although Dylan and Lexie were seasoned passengers, it was a first for Grant, Lily, Liam, and me. Just Ducky Tours is not just for tourists visiting the city. It's a fun tour for anybody, and it was a great family activity for my own crew!

Grant was surprised by how much he enjoyed the tour. He was glad he didn't have to go into the office to work, but said he didn't think he was going to enjoy it as much as he did! Just as I expected, Lexie and Lily loved it, and Lily was so excited to drive the boat. My cool, moody teenager even had fun, and I caught him smiling throughout the tour. (That's a parenthood WIN!)

I was most surprised by how calm Liam was on the tour. My usually overly energetic boy sat perfectly in his seat the entire time, and was absolutely mesmerized by the sights and the sounds of the city! (I'm currently trying to figure out how to convince Just Ducky Tours to give us a season pass, so I can ride with Liam through the city every time I need a break from chasing after him!)

I had a great time, but as every mom can understand, it was more enjoyable watching my kids experience the tour! The way they absorb everything with wonder in their eyes just makes experiences like this one so magical. My kids had so much fun, and they actually learned some awesome facts along the way. It was a memorable day for my family, and it's a day we'll remember for a very long time!

Down Syndrome Blog

Down for Adventure - Travel with Kids

Just Ducky Tours in Pittsburgh


SCHEDULE YOUR TOUR


Just Ducky Tours operates from April 1st through November 30th. It is recommended that tours are booked in advance, either over the phone or online, because tours may sell out a few days in advance.

Tour times are 10:30 AM, 12 PM, 1:30 PM, 2:45 PM, 4 PM, & 6 PM Monday through Friday, and 10:30 AM, 12 PM, 1:30 PM, 2:45 PM, 4:30 PM, & 6 PM on Saturday and Sunday.

CONNECT WITH JUST DUCKY TOURS


Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / TripAdvisor


Down For Adventure in Pittsburgh with Just Ducky Tours


Thanks for the fun and memorable day, Just Ducky Tours!!!

7 comments:

  1. I'm pretty sure Cincinnati has something like this - I'd love to check it out someday! That's great Lily got to drive the boat a bit, and that Liam was so good during the tour! It sounds like such fun!!! :)

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

    ReplyDelete
  2. So fun! I was in Pittsburgh once when a friend of mine was in school there and we visited him. So long ago! It looks like a lovely city. We did a duck tour in WI also and it was a lot of fun!

    ReplyDelete
  3. What great pictures you go of Pittsburgh! My family loves the ducky tour!!! SOOO much fun! I LOVE our city so very much and your pictures captured it beautifully!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Looks like so much fun! Great pictures. Have a great weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  5. This is so cool!! I would love to visit sometime! I've never been!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Your post really educated me on Pittsburgh! And you are right about river tours - they are a wonderful, calm way to see a city. Plus it was quite a testament that your troop of kids of all ages enjoyed it so much! You really are always on the go - what is your secret? Have a great week-end - Joanne x

    ReplyDelete

Let's chat! XOXO