Imagine getting a view of the Chicago skyscape from
a duck's perspective. That is what participants in a kayaking tour
of the Chicago River can expect. Dave Olson, the owner of Kayak
Chicago, says kayaking is a fantastic family activity adults and
kids of all ages will enjoy.
At Kayak Chicago, participants are fitted with life
jackets, choose their kayaks and get a beginner's lesson in
maneuvering the boat before setting off on their urban aquatic
"Our tours are really a one-of-a-kind opportunity for
families to see Chicago from this vantage point. Even if you've
been on the architectural boat tour before, you'll find that this
is really a different experience because you are almost at water
level," Olson says.
Kids are particularly impressed by this
Olson insists that kids of all ages can participate in the
kayaking experience. Any age child can be in a tandem kayak with an
adult, but kids need to be at least 12 to paddle a single kayak.
Kayak Chicago offers tandem kayaks that have room for two adults
and a small child to ride in the middle. "We can make the
experience work for any age," Olson says.
He specifically recommends the architectural tours for
families because the experience includes lots of stops and plenty
of stories about the history of Chicago, the river and surrounding
If parents are up for a later night with the kids, the
fireworks tour is a big hit. "The fireworks tour is great because
you paddle through the city at night. We leave at dusk so everyone
can still see their surroundings and get comfortable. As we
approach the city, the lights start to come on and then as it gets
darker, the real adventure begins. We head down the main branch
towards Navy Pier to the mouth of the river, right where the
fireworks are taking place," says Olson.
To ensure a happy experience for everyone, Olson
encourages parents to bring along snacks, drinks and sunscreen. He
also suggests extras such as binoculars or a disposable camera for
daytime or glow sticks for a nighttime tour.
Simply put, "If they are happy, they are more likely to
enjoy the experience," says Olson.
Caitlin Murray Giles is a full-time mother of three and part-time freelance writer living in Wicker Park.
See more of Caitlin's stories here.
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