Learn something new at Susquehanna River School

The Pride of the Susquehanna offers unique views of Harrisburg & the Susquehanna River

By Kat Dinsmore, publisher, June 17, 2019

Last weekend my 10 year old son and I participated in the Pride of the Susquehanna Riverboat's River School as part of our Mother/Son weekend exploring the Harrisburg & Hershey area and had an absolute blast. We've done the 45 minute cruise on the Pride before with our whole family and really enjoyed it, so we were looking forward to seeing how that would differ from the weekly River School. My son is the type of kid who loves to learn fast facts and interesting trivia, so the opportunity to learn more about the Appalachian Mountains and Susquehanna River in a gorgeous floating classroom was right up his alley. As one of only six authentic paddleboats operating in the United States, this is an experience that is really unique and is fun for all ages. 

Once we were aboard the Pride we were led to the galley by Carla, our fantastic teacher/guide for River School. She had the kids wrapped around her finger as she explained the rules of the boat, behavior expectations and shared some fun facts about the actual paddleboat, like where the port, bow, stern and starboard sides of the boat are. I really love that there are four themes that rotate through the River School schedule, so you can attend the River School more than one weekend and not sit through the same presentation each time. The theme of our River School was "The Science and Geology of the Susquehanna", so we learned about the geography of the river and mountains that surround us daily.

My son's eyes grew huge when he saw Trevor begin to pass out Oreos so the kids could have a hands-on experience creating mountains, volcanoes and more. I appreciate how much time and effort was put into making River School fun for the kids. The hands-on display with Oreos was delicious, but educational as well. 

It's hard to just talk at kids about river formations, so when Trevor called the kids towards the front of the galley to watch water being poured into a mock landform to see just what happens when the water is unleashed, they were really excited. Actually seeing how it happens really drove it home for the kids and cemented in just how it all happens. The next time you take a trip up 15 or 322, take a look at the mountains as they sit alongside the river. The Susquehanna River carved through the Appalachian Mountains here due to the soft rocks in our area. Usually, a river winds around a mountain. Geologists from all over the world come here to study our land formations, river and local geography. I've lived in the Susquehanna Valley for the majority of my adult life and have never noticed just how rare the landforms and river in our area are.

After River School, the kids were all handed binoculars and a scavenger hunt and were encouraged to study the river, Riverfront Park, and the surrounding area to find the items on their list. Once they found their items they were each given a prize. It was a fun way to wrap up River School and to be able to chat with the instructors and ask any additional questions the kids had. I can't recommend families enjoying River School at least once this summer. It's a really interesting way to learn more about our area in a fun and unique way.

River School is offered every Saturday, through August 31 at 10am. Kids under age 12 are always free, with adults tickets running $15. Tickets are available on Pride of the Susquehanna's website.

The Pride of the Susquehanna also offers 45 minute cruises daily, Princess and Pirate Cruises, Dinner Cruises, Fireworks Cruises & more. They truly have themed events for everyone and every occasion. More information about the different cruises offered can be found HERE.

My son and I were guests of Visit Hershey & Harrisburg for our ride aboard Pride of the Susquehanna. All thoughts and opinions are ours and are not influenced in any way.