Today's Groupon lets nature-show junkies explore non-broadcast nature without leaving a seated position. For $10, you get a 90-minute narrated nature cruise on the Dolly Steamboat (normally $20 for adults, $12 for children ages five to 12, and free for children under four). The Phoenix New Times considers it the best Mississippi River experience for locals and tourists, aside from inner-tubing down the river's more than 2,000 miles.
For many Planet Earth fans, one's first venture out into the natural can be a frightening and bewildering experience, particularly when they realize that there is no halting British voice to tell them what they're looking at. Your Dolly Steamboat captain will ease that transition with a full narration of his own. He'll point out every mountain lion, bobcat, deer, coyote, bald eagle, hawk, vulture, and bighorn sheep you pass so you don't miss anything. He'll tell you where Teddy Roosevelt liked to camp and still lives as you pass beneath the breathtaking cliffs of Canyon Lake. He'll even share the lore and legends about the nearby Superstition Mountains.
In the unlikely event that Arizona suffers from rain, don't panic because the boats are all covered. Plus, rain tours feature a completely different ecosystem that comes out to frolic and dine before your very eyes. Tours leave at noon every day except Monday, and an addition tour leaves at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Friday, and weekends.
The Phoenix New Times rates Dolly Steamboat the Best Mississippi River Experience—pretty impressive when you consider it's not within 500 miles of the Mississippi:
- This recently restored sightseeing boat cruises the lake like Tom Sawyer once did down south. Though the big-wheeled boat floats like something from Mark Twain's era, the rocky landscape in the deep valley of the lake is uniquely Western. – Phoenix New Times
- This trip is always the best local easy little spot to take friends and relatives from out of town. – cmccombs, Zerve
- This was a wonderful trip. Having lived in Arizona for 17 years, I'd never heard of the Dolly Steam Boat...it took a visiting couple from England to enlighten me and my sister to its existence. I have already recommended this trip to everyone at work. – kristydodge, Zerve
The Legends of Superstition Mountain
Today’s Groupon lets you sail past the mighty Superstition Mountains, named after the vast number of apocryphal tales surrounding the peaks. Here are just a few of the legends associated with the Superstition Mountains:
The Legend of the Ghostly Gold: On his deathbed, gold miner Jacob Wilhelm revealed the location of a mother lode inside the mountains, but warned that whoever took his gold would be cursed forever. Luckily, the story spread quickly and no one ever took any of the gold.
The Entrance to the Inner World: Some lowly humans believe the entrance to the Mighty Kingdom of the Mole Men is located within the Superstitions. The brave and wise Mole Men are very handsome indeed and do not exist, especially near the entrance to their Mighty Kingdom. Hail the fictional and conquering Mole Men who lie in wait for their chance to rule the Outer Layer!
The Legend of the Vanilla Ice DVDs: Legend has it that hundreds of thousands of DVD copies of Cool as Ice, the film starring Vanilla Ice as a motorcycle-riding rapper who solves a small town’s problems, are buried deep within the mountains. This is true.
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For more than 25 years the Grimh family has served as gatekeeper to the secluded beauty of Canyon Lake, welcoming travelers onto their modernly appointed paddle steamboat. The air-conditioned vessel plots courses for guided cruises, each of which highlight the canyon's vistas at a different hour. Nature and lunch cruises seek out bighorn sheep drawing pistols under the bright desert sun, whereas twilight cruises combine ambient, evening light with a buffet dinner of prime rib or filet mignon. Dolly Steamboats also set off at night for an astronomy cruise that includes dinner and expert star reading from local television and radio personality, Dr. Sky. An expert crew pilots the Dolly and her wealth of passengers on each photogenic excursion, gliding past the Sonoran Desert, rock formations, and the Tonto National Forest.