Glacier Park Boat Company Tours#8 in Best Things To Do in Glacier National Park
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This historic family-owned boat company dates back to 1938, when it became the first tour concession in the park. Its handcrafted wooden boats take visitors on narrated tours of Lake McDonald, St. Mary's Lake at Rising Sun, Two Medicine and Many Glacier.
Many recent hikers heading for the Dawson/Pitamakan Pass trails used the GNP boat as a shuttle across Two Medicine Lake to cut a few miles off the trek, while others took the combination boat tour of Swiftcurrent and Josephine Lakes to reach the Grinnell Lake trailhead. Other visitors simply enjoyed the narrated tour of Lake McDonald, and many travelers commented on the gorgeous scenery and excellent narration from the captain.
Advance reservations are required and passengers should plan to arrive at least 20 minutes prior to the scheduled departure to allow time for parking. Round-trip tickets cost $27.50 for adults and $13.75 for children 4 and older, while one-way, return-only tickets cost between $13.75 and $6.75. For hikers taking the boat, note that your return trip is printed on your ticket, but seats on the return trips are on a space-available basis and may require a long wait during peak season. The company is also the park's official rental concession for kayaks, paddleboards, canoes and rowboats at Lake McDonald Lodge, Many Glacier, Two Medicine and Apgar. For more information about tours, rentals and reservations, visit the company's website.
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#1 Apgar Nature Center
Housed in a small cabin built in 1929, the Apgar Nature Center sits in a grove of cedar trees and is one of the official park visitor centers. The nature center features interactive activities for kids: children can feel a grizzly bear's fur, listen and identify birds by their "songs" or create their own puppet show. Educational displays detail plants found in the park and teach about the habitats of the vast array of wildlife. Ranger-led talks and other programs are held in the outdoor seating area.
Recent travelers recommended making this visitor center your first stop in the park to gather important information on road and weather conditions, bear sightings and trail closures. Families particularly enjoyed the junior ranger programs and special activities, and many visitors were impressed with the restaurant, the helpful staff and the free Wi-Fi. Many also noted that this is the place to park for free shuttle service and park tours.
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