We Rode the Ducks!

When Leo and his sisters are out of school for the summer, my focus shifts to keeping us busy busy busy -- as I wrote this week both on BlogHer and at Thinking Person's Guide to Autism. So when we were invited to Ride the Ducks in San Francisco -- take an amphibious tour of the city's streets and bay -- I said Yes Please.

Leo adores riding in buses, trains, boats, and planes, so I suspected he'd love riding in the boat/cars. And I was right. The tour ended up keeping him happy and entertained for nearly two hours (and you're welcome to browse our photoset). The only issue we encountered had nothing to do with the Ducks -- Leo announced he needed to hit the head as soon as we boarded the vehicle, and all the bathrooms in the Fisherman's Wharf vicinity have long long lines -- so we ended up needing to take the next tour instead of the one we'd booked. The Ducks staff were patient, friendly, and helpful and made the transition to the later trip seamless. Whew.

Leo and his sisters were all thrilled. We spend a lot of time in San Francisco, but we rarely visit the most touristy places -- which means they don't know those areas of the city. So tours are actually a decent way for kids to learn some history nuggets.


The kids were given "quackers," and were encouraged to quack throughout the tour. Mali had no problem leading the charge. Iz helped Leo figure his quacker out.


While we waited for the tour to start, Leo and Iz chilled via iPad. Leo is absolutely obsessed with the spelling app WordWall.


We saw many, many, many landmarks. Like Alcatraz. Which, to my great embarrassment, I have never visited.


And hey, Coit Tower. We visit it frequently, because we love its murals and the local history they depict.


Wish we'd been able to make some stops, alas. City Lights actually has a great kids' book section.


It was a beautiful day to pass through Union Square.


This is the main San Francisco Apple Store, which is always a beehive. I was one of the speakers on an iPad panel there just last month.


About to go into the water, just south of AT&T Park. Look, there's another Duck!


Our captain, who is also named Leo, let Iz drive the Duck once we got in the water.


As  you might guess by this photo, the sea leg of our trip was Leo's favorite part.


AT&T Park! I hear it's a lovely place to see a game. I've never been. You'd have to hit me over the head with a baseball bat and drag me in by the ankles -- I spent my entire childhood being shunted to my three brothers' baseball games, and never care to see another inning.


We weren't the only ones at sea.


When we got back on land, we drove right by the ball park. I will admit that it is a beautiful ball park.


And it really was a beautiful day, as this Bay Bridge shot illustrates.


Again, Leo had a wonderful time. I knew from experience that he would likely sit still through the entire trip, but I also knew that since we were going through the touristy parts of San Francisco, we could exit the vehicle and take a cab or cable car back to Fisherman's Wharf and our vehicle, at any time. I was slightly nervous about the vehicle's open sides, because Leo has jumped out of small boats in the past, but it would have taken a significant effort on his part to escape. I think if your autistic child is the kind of kid who enjoys "transportation days" and has never tried to escape from a moving vehicle, the Ducks tour would be a fun choice.


  1. This makes me smile. A LOT. If you ever do get the chance, Alcatraz is an interesting place to visit.

    Wishing we were there to join in some of your fun summer outings!

  2. The quackers look like daffodils! Such pretty pictures!!


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