accessAtlanta

City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

Access Points 9: ‘Ride the Ducks’ at Stone Mountain Park

Were you right about this week’s Access Points photo game?

Stone Mountain 7.JPG

Access Points 9: Ride the Ducks at Stone Mountain Park! AJC file photo

It’s something wet, but wasn’t Six Flags White Water, nor was it anything floating in our flood waters, as some of you guessed. It’s Ride the Ducks at Stone Mountain Park! Snowman was the first to guess correctly in the comments — good eye!

Visitors talk about the ducks like they’ve been floating the water around Stone Mountain since the 1940s, but in fact, they only  moved into the park in 2004.

From an AJC story introducing the ride:

It looks like a bus — and a boat. Actually, it’s both.

Amphibious open-air vehicles are cruising Stone Mountain Park to give visitors 40-minute tours of the park — on land and on lake.

The new attraction, “Ride the Ducks, ” is the first addition to Georgia’s top tourist destination since May 2002, when the park opened Crossroads, a simulated 1870s Southern town. …

The Ducks were getting good and broken in, loading up to 38 passengers at a time in front of the Great Barn at Crossroads. Named after the “DUKW” vehicles used in World War II, the Ducks have the automotive characteristics of a truck and a watertight hull — very helpful when splashing down into the park’s lake at about 20 to 25 mph.

The ride you get depends a little on your driver. I talked with Larry Breedlove, better known to his passengers as “Captain Larry,” or The Guy Who Looks Like Santa. His ride is especially good for history and trivia buffs who want to know the military history, park geography and likes  “Gone With the Wind” tunes he plasy during the tours.

You can tell when a vehicle is coming or going by the quacking coming from the passengers; they’re given with a kazoo-like quacker as they board the bus-boat. Does it every get tiring? I asked Breedlove.

“No,” he said. “I drive a school bus during the week.”

More fun facts, provided by Stone Mountain Park and the AJC archives:

  • Stone Mountain Park isn’t the only place to catch a ride on a Duck. You can also hop on in Branson, Mo., San Francisco, Philadelphia, Seattle and Newport, Ky.
  • General Motors first built them in 1942, and they were first used by the U.S. Army in 1943. They were eventually used to carry ammunition from anchored ships to shore.  (Some carried 4.5-inch rockets.)
  • They’re not called ducks because of their watery ways, but because of a military acronym. They’re actually DUKWs; the letters indicate they were designed in 1942 (D), for utility/amphibious purposes (U), with front wheel drive (K), and two rear driving axles (W).
  • Wacky Quacker noisemakers that Duck passengers receive were the subject of a lawsuit this summer. Seems Ride the Ducks was unhappy about a similar quacking kazoo provided by rival tour operators, Bay Quackers, in San Francisco. AJC reporters are diligently checking on this hard-hitting legal news.

Want to go? Ride the Ducks tours begin around 11 a.m. and are currently running only on weekends.  $6.40 with Mountain Membership, $8.55 with One-Day Adventure Pass, $12.85 for single tickets. Reservations are required and can be made at the main ticket plaza or at the Duck departure area at Stone Mountain Park, 1000 Robert E. Lee Drive, Stone Mountain. 770-498-5690, www.stonemountainpark.com.

For instant updates, follow @insideaccess on Twitter.

Comments are closed.