This past fall, I had the wonderful experience of being a chaperone on a field trip to RiverQuest, a non-profit educational organization that operates a river learning center for students, teachers, and the community of southwestern Pennsylvania. During the four-hour boat trip, the students got to examine organisms under microscopes, test water, learn various facts about plant and animal life in the river and environment, and much more.
Recently, I looked up RiverQuest on the great big internet, and I discovered (or perhaps just remembered) that the organization offers Saturday cruises. So I decided the family should go. After a long walk around the North Shore on beautiful sunny day, we boarded the RiverQuest boat on the Ohio River, after having purchased our tickets at the nearby Science Center.
The one-hour trip did not disappoint. The hubby, who was still slightly under the weather, appreciated time in the sun. And J and I did various learning activities. She was particularly engaged in looking at things under the microscope, including some rarely seen phytoplankton. I had fun doing a sand activity having to do with sediment! :-)
We were one of only two families on the boat that afternoon, so we had the undivided attention of the educators. Ever the money-minder, I told them I felt bad that so few people took advantage of this educational and extremely reasonably priced boat ride ($6.95 for children and $9.95 for adults; you would pay way more than that for a ride on the Gateway Clipper). Unfortunately, the org is hurting for money, but they are exploring a partnership with Rivers of Steels. I really hope that works out. I talked to someone at RQ yesterday who was optimistic. She said there was a good chance the Saturday sails would start up again the weekend after the Fourth; right now the last one is scheduled for next weekend.
If you live in or are visiting the Pittsburgh area, please consider taking one of their Saturday cruises. It would be most ideal if you had a child to bring, but I am sure they would be happy to have grown ups as well. Hopefully next weekend won't be the last one. But you may want to check them out on the web at riverquest.org. I am optimistic that we will get the chance to enjoy another ride before the summer ends. I sure hope so!