IMO, writer Tony Hicks has got things spot-on right here in the San Jose Mercury News:
“Taking the Kids: Quacking up and around the city by the bay“
I just took the media cruise for the new-ish “Sunset Duck Tour” from Ride the Ducks San Francisco – it starts at 7:30 PM.
Here’s Captain John:
Quacking away with people in another duck boat while passing by:
So that’s how things start in Fisherman’s Wharf. Then you begin a circuitous trip to the launch ramps down south of AT&T Park. I’ve never been up so high in an open vehicle, so this was a new experience, kind of like what I imagine the “hop-on hop-off” city bus tours are like.
So off you go, past the working part of Fisherman’s Wharf…
…past the Gary Danko (perennial No. 1 in the Bay Area for “Food, Service and Popularity” per Zagat)…
…through North Beach and on to Chinatown, where you look down upon the #30 Stocktons as you pass them by…
…and then through the tunnel to Union Square and then through SoMA to the launch area.
I gotta say that that was the touristy part of the tour, so check out Beth Spotswood’s take on that in the Tourist Trapped Culture Blog of the San Francisco Chronicle’s SFGate.com if you want more on that.
So finally you get to launch – it looks like this:
And then you’re slowly cruising the bay, albeit near to shore for the most part.
This was the late-starting 7:30 PM sunset cruise so things were getting darker as we made our way past AT&T Park:
You might catch a little spray from the bay but most likely you won’t.
This riding-on-the-water part in a military-style vehicle with not all that much freeboard is an experience – I recommend it.
Then after puttering around on the water, you drive out of the water to take the Embarcadero back to the Wharf.
Looking back at the Bay Bridge through Doris and Don Fisher’s Cupid’s Span skate park / tourist hiking platform – plenty of oohs and ahs at this point here:
Interacting with happy passersby on the way home…
…while zipping past the historic F-Market streetcars:
These ducks look somewhat menacing at night, huh?
And there’s your trip:
So, you need to show up at least 15 minutes early to keep your reservation, I think.
And this tour can get quite cold and windy, needless to say.
If you want to see some more photos, there are some good ones on Yelp.
This was a great experience – I think it’d be good for tourists and locals alike.