Discovery Riverboat Tour in Fairbanks Alaska

The Amazing Riverboat Discovery Boat Tour – Fairbanks Alaska

Are you looking for fun things to do in Fairbanks, Alaska?  The Riverboat Discovery boat tour needs to be at the top of your list!  It is a fantastic tour! 

We recently had the opportunity to check it out.  I am so excited to share with you all the fun we had, as well as all the things to do on the discovery boat.  

This tour includes historical information, dog sleds, airplanes, and even a native village to explore.  It really is an entertaining and fabulous tour.

Let's get started with the Fairbanks Discovery Riverboat Tour review! 

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Discovery Boat Tour

Riverboat Discovery boat tour is a family owned business that has been in operation for five generations.  The family started the Riverboat Discovery boat tour with a 25 passenger vessel and now has a 900 passenger vessel.  

Where is the RiverBoat Discovery Tour Located?

The discovery boat tour is located in Fairbanks, Alaska.  The address is: 

1975 Discovery Drive, Fairbanks, AK 99709

It is located about 5 minutes from the Fairbanks Airport and 15 minutes from downtown Fairbanks.

The discovery boat tour takes you along the Chena River.  

Admission and Tour Times

Riverboat Discovery Fairbanks, Alaska


Adults: $69.95

Children: (3-12): $42.95 

Tour Times

Daily: 2:00pm

Are Reservations Required?

No, but it is highly recommended to purchase your tickets ahead of time. 

How Early Should I Arrive at RiverBoat Discovery?

Waiting Area at Riverboat Discovery Fairbanks, Alaska

You should arrive about 30 minutes before departure time.  You could even plan a little more time and enjoy lunch along the Chena River before you board the boat.  There is also a gift shop to get a few souvenirs.

How Long is the Discovery Boat Tour?

The boat tour is 3 hours long. 

Is There Assigned Seating?

No, first come first serve but the best seats are located on the left side on the top deck.  Try to grab a seat up top! 

What Should I Bring on the Discovery Boat Tour

Don't forget a camera!  I have a Nikon 5600 series with a really nice lens.  It is perfect for taking great shots that are farther away.  Camera phones do pretty well too, there are even accessory lenses designed for phones that can capture even better shots. 

Make sure to bring a water bottle and a bag  for convince. 

What to See on the Discovery Boat Tour

Riverboat Discovery Indian Village

As the tour starts off down the beautiful Chena River, you will see gorgeous homes. Many of the owners come outside to wave to say hello. 

Our Tour Guide

Tour Guide at Discovery Riverboat Fairbanks Alaska

Our tour guide was fantastic.  We learned some very interesting facts and enjoyed the commentary.  There are TV screens that show actual footage of the different events that we learned about including the Iditarod.  

The staff was amazing and made sure to make you feel right at home. 

Small Plane

Small Plane in Alaska

One of the first experiences on the boat tour is an up close and personal view of a small airplane.  It takes off from the water and lands on the water.  The narrator gives a really cool history of the planes and how important these small planes are in Alaska.  A lot of people live in remote areas and these planes bring in supplies. 

These planes are also used in medical emergencies. The narrator said the plane we saw had flown out to a remote area to pick up a woman in labor and fly her to the hospital.  The baby was actually born on the plane! 

It was really fun to see the plane land right next to the boat.  

Dog Sled 

Dog Sled Training area on the Chena River

As we journeyed down the Chena we came across a house that had several dog houses.  This house belonged to the late Susan Butcher.  She was the second woman to win the Iditarod competition and the second person to win four Iditarod races in a row.  

Her husband (David Monson) has a sled dog training center a little farther down the river.  It is amazing.  The boat stops and David teaches everyone on board how they train the dogs.  They also do a demonstration on how they train the pups.  These dogs need a lot of exercise so David attaches them to an ATV (no engine) and the dogs race around the kennel, pulling him along. 

The dogs are so cute.  It is really fun to see them in action.  


Indian village in Fairbanks Alaska 

The boat docks at a Chena Indian Village.  You will disembark and head to the village.  There are three areas where natives share all about their culture and how they have survived in the Alaska territory for so long.  


Chena Indian Clothing

On the first stop, you learn all about the different animals used to make clothing warm enough for survival in the Alaskan winters. 

There is also a demonstration of traditional garb, made by hand.  The full outfits are worth over $25,000.  They are beautiful! 


Reindeer at the Chena Indian Village

There is an area where there are reindeer.  It was amazing to get up close and see the big antlers.  

After the demonstrations are over there is time to explore the village.  The dog trainers from the kennel come over and teach about how to train the dogs and demonstrate skills that are essential for the dogs to learn.  

David Monson also comes over and signs his book at the Indian Village Post Office.  

You can go around and talk with the native workers and learn more about the culture and what it is like to live in the area.  

Discovery Boat Tour Return Trip

After spending time in the village you re-board the boat and head back. The boat ride back is a lot faster.  You do get a different point of view if you stick to your same seat.   

Are There Eating Options on the Boat?

Eating on the Discovery Boat Tour

Yes!  Donuts are included in your ticket price.  There are donuts located on all levels of the discovery boat.  As you head back to Discovery Riverboat dock, there are complementary samples of fresh salmon dip and crackers.  The salmon dip is amazing! 

Food and Drink for Purchase

There are snacks and drinks for purchase.  They are reasonably priced.  You can also order hotdogs and chili dogs.  There are two options: beef chili and moose chili!   We decided to stick with the beef chili. It was fantastic!  

Soft drinks, wine, and beer are also available on board.  

Is the Riverboat Discovery Boat Tour Good for Families?

Discovery Riverboat Tour

The Discovery Boat Tour is a fantastic adventure for families.  Our kids loved it.  There were enough stops and demonstrations to keep them entertained.  We had previously gone on a Kenai Fjords National Park boat tour, which was also three hours, and they said they preferred this tour. 

It was a great experience! 

Gift Shop

Gift Shop at Discovery RiverBoat Tour in Fairbanks Alaska

There is a nice gift shop located at the Riverboat Discovery dock.  One thing that impressed me is that the prices were reasonable.  There were really nice high quality jackets/coats for the same price you would get them for at Costco.  

I also loved buying Alaska Christmas ornaments and snow globes.  

The gift shop also had an ice cream counter with yummy treats to purchase.  You could also purchase that delicious salmon dip in the gift shop. 

Want to Go on the RiverBoat Discovery Boat Tour?

Discovery Boat Tour in Fairbanks Alaska

This is one tour that I highly recommend checking out when you visit Fairbanks, Alaska.  Hopefully, this gives you an overview of what to expect.  If you want to check out the reviews on Trip Advisor they are pretty good.  My rating is definitely excellent! 

More Adventures in Alaska

We planned an amazing Alaska itinerary.  We started with all the fun things to do in Fairbanks, including a Riverboat tour, and a trip to the North Pole to visit Santa. Then headed to Denali National Park.  We stopped in Talkeetna and took a flightseeing tour that actually landed on Mt. Denali.  We also spent some time in Anchorage. We took a road trip from Anchorage to Seward We enjoyed all the things to do in Seward. It was incredible and we loved visiting.  We love Alaska and highly recommend planning a trip!  If you need help packing for Alaska, I have you covered there as well. 

Facebook Community

If you have any questions be sure to join my Facebook Travel Community   This great community can help answer any questions you may have about your upcoming trips. Plus, I try to add any great deals or promotions that companies send me!


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  1. This sounds like such a wonderful time–I’d be so fascinated with the sled dogs and reindeer, especially!

  2. Looks like such an incredible trip! I would love to do a river cruise, since it really is a great way to see more of the country!

  3. How fun. Alaska is one of the only places I will probably travel with my husband. I think he would actually enjoy this and be surrounded by scenery that would actually make him feel relaxed and want to be out touring. Everything looks so beautiful! What a great way to see so many things with the riverboat tour.

  4. Aren’t the dogs so cute! We had a blast when we did the summer dog sledding. So much fun.

  5. This looks amazing! I love Alaska but have never been to Fairbanks and have never done a discovery boat tour there. Awesome!

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