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Cruise the Blackstone River on the Blackstone Valley Explorer

The Educational Vessel Blackstone Valley Explorer cruises provide a unique way to experience the wildlife and history of Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Hopping aboard the Explorer offers a chance to float down this beautiful river if you do not have a boat of your own. People of all kinds will find something special and new each time they tour the river.

The Explorer has been bringing people onto the river for over 22 years. Beginning in 1993, says Coordinator Dianne Mailloux, it was the goal of the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council, "to open up the Blackstone River to visitors and residents who want to experience the area." This service to the area, and the sustainability of its environment, is at the core of all the activities and programs created by the river boat staff.

Public tours raise awareness and interest in Blackstone Valley. The Explorer leaves the dock every Sunday, on the hour, beginning at 1:00PM and run till 4:00PM. Along the way, a tour guide will educate visitors about the various animals, birds, ducks, deer, osprey and other birds that call Blackstone Valley home as well as tell stories of the dynamic history of the Valley.

The boat is accessible and enjoyable to all. Mailloux says, "All kinds of people can do this trip. Young and older people, expert birder, and people with different cultural backgrounds love the cruise." The boat is able to accommodate people with disabilities thanks to a Paul V. Sherlock Center on Disabilities grant that upgraded the Blackstone Valley Explorer facilities.

The river tour has something for people of varied passions, whether they be animals, local history, or just spending a day out in nature. Mailloux says, "There are wonderful stories of people like Reverend Blackstone, Captain Pierce and more that give people a sense of pride for this place." Children love to see the birds, ducks, and deer that sometimes gather at the water's edge.

The Explorer chooses one Sunday per month to allow its passengers to ride for free. In addition to the Sunday river tours open to the public, Pawtucket residents and visitors can also participate in special programs offered by the Blackstone Valley Explorer staff. Thanks to Blackstone Valley National Heritage Corridor Inc., Sea Research Foundation and Jason Learning, people can take a peek below the water's surface with a special Remote Operated Vehicle developed by Researcher Dr. Robert Ballard during Free Environmental Education Saturdays. High school student groups have the opportunity to enhance their education through the River Classroom. Teachers from a variety of different grade levels collaborate with tour guides and other Blackstone Valley Tourism Council staff to meet the educational needs of these students. Many of these students come from urban areas, says Mailloux, and "do not experience the outdoor environment in their regular day."

And finally, to plan a corporate event, or just to make a splash with friends and family, guests have the option of chartering the Explorer for $250 per hour. Tour guides are available at an additional cost. What better way to get to know a neighborhood than with a sunset cruise among friends?

The Explorer showcases all that is beautiful about Pawtucket, Rhode Island. To schedule the Blackstone Valley Explorer contact Dianne Mailloux at 401 724 2200. The Explorer will cruise the Blackstone River through October.

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