Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Ducks, Ducks, & More Ducks

These past three years, I have been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to travel around the U.S & Canada. I would say I have been to almost 90% of the country these past 3 years, highlighted by an unbelievable opportunity to live in Seattle, Wa. Some trips were for business, some for vacation but during all these trips I have been compiling ideas for Evansville which hopefully you have been reading on this blog.

One of the coolest concepts that I have ever seen has been a company called, " Ride the Ducks." I have seen them in Seattle, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Boston, and several other cities. They are the only tour organization that can take their tourists both on water and on land. They take their riders around famous landmarks around the city and then plunge directly onto the river where riders can view the city from the middle of the water.

When I first saw these vehicles, my first question was, " How do those vehicles do that?" According to wikipedia...

"The actual vehicle is based on the famous World War II DUKW amphibious design. Today, the company builds its vehicles from the ground up to incorporate advances in marine design and safety. Ride the Ducks now owns the rights to, and manufacturers its own amphibious vehicles. In addition to equipping their vehicles with a number of safety features, including an abundance of adult- and child-sized lifejackets, duck captains are Coast Guard certified and hold commercial drivers' licenses. The captains are also fully trained in first aid and CPR."

While Evansville may not be as large as the current cities that have Ride the Ducks and it may not have as many landmarks ( don't worry I'm working on that), I still believe this would be a perfect idea for Evansville. Why? Because, how many tourists that come to Evansville want to go out on the mighty Ohio River but can't because there's no place that will take them out on the water? And how many tourists would like to know more about Evansville but don't know where to go and there is no one there to explain the town to them?

Here in Evansville, we have a great asset in the Ohio River. It's about time we took advantage of it. But where else would Ride the Ducks go here?

In my opinion, the following locations must be included in the tour routes...

- Bosse Field
- Roseanne House
- Reitz Home
- Greyhound Bus Station
- Roberts Stadium
- Old Courthouse & Jail
- Reitz Bowl
- Wesselman Woods
- Mesker Park Zoo
- Angel Mounds
- Willard Library

Of course, there are many more landmarks not on my list that could be added. The point is, if we are going to do our best to attract tourists to Evansville with the new arena, we need to have a company that shows them around for us and puts our best asset before them, which is the Ohio River. All this company would have to do to get this project going is lease a spot downtown and bring their vehicles here. Then, we're ready to go!

Most importantly, Ride the Ducks would be located downtown, which would encourage tourists to come downtown, which inturn would encourage business developers to come downtown. Now that's something I think we can all support!

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