No need to sing the blues. Not on a swanky cruise down the mighty Mississippi. And for those visiting Memphis, Tennessee, there are a few different ways to explore the great river in glorious style. The one thing to remember, says Jonathan Lyons, spokesman for the Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau, is to wear sunscreen, sunglasses and hats. "There is shade," he said, "but Memphis gets more sunny days than Miami, so we want our guests to stay cool from the sun."
History buffs will want to book a sightseeing tour through Memphis Riverboats (memphisriverboats.net), Memphis' sole riverboat company. The 1 1/2-hour cruise includes live commentary and engaging information about the Sultana, one of history's most tragic maritime disasters, Mark Twain and his association with the river and more. Stories are spun by a "Riverlorian" and guests are encouraged to ask questions and get engaged. At the time of publication, the cruise operates daily March 1 to Oct. 31 and on Saturdays and Sundays in November.
Take your date on a romantic evening cruise and dance and dine the night away. Available through Memphis Riverboats, the two-hour journey includes a barbecue buffet and live entertainment. The dinner cruise is not reserved for romance, either. Families are welcome. Couples can book a Valentine's Day cruise, however, and enjoy dinner and entertainment under the stars. At the time of publication, the cruise is available Thursday through Sunday, May 1 to Aug. 31. It's available Saturday's only March through April and September through October.
Thrill seekers can take a unique journey across Old Man River on an Airboat, run by Memphis Riverboats. Airboats, like "The Demona," race along the Mississippi, wake jumping and riding waves. Adventurers settle into the boat donning protective eye wear and ear plugs, then sit back and hold on as the six-passenger craft zips along the river. Trips last 30-minutes and are available throughout the day. Children 6 years old and younger are not allowed.
Before and after riding the waves and seeing the sites, visitors can enjoy time at Mud Island River Park and Museum (mudisland.com), a popular attraction along the river, says Lyons. The park's Adventure Center kayak rentals and paddle boats offer another way to explore the Mississippi, as well. And history buffs will enjoy the park's River Walk, a scale model of the Lower Mississippi, flowing with water and ready for wading. Twenty cities are depicted along the walk and the "river" flows into an acre-size scale model Gulf of Mexico.
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