Wichita on the Cheap

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ICT River Rides: Boat on the Arkansas River

Did you know you can ride a Boat down the Arkansas River? Thats right! You can enjoy the beautiful river view of the iconic Keeper of the Pains. This is a unique thing to do in Wichita. 

Sherman Padgett started ICT River Rides in 2022. He was inspired by the WagonMasters, who give pontoon boat rides during Riverfest. He thought that this would be something fun for the whole summer. He has lived his entire adult life in Wichita, started teaching at Wichita Public Schools in 1990, and currently teaches art at Chester Lewis Alternative High School. 

Arkansas River Pontoon Boat Rides

Sherman grew up in Kansas City and spent summers with his grandparents at the Lake of the Ozarks so he has operated boats since he was 14 years old. 
He took his family’s old 24ft. Pontoon boat and remodeled the deck to accommodate benches for boat tours. Now, during the summer months, he gives boat rides in the Arkansas River on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

Details on How ICT River Ride: 

  • Starting May 1st, 2023 you can Ride a Boat on the Arkansas River
  • ICT Rive Ride is available: Friday, Saturday & Sunday from 5 pm – 10 pm
  • It’s $5 per rider for 15 min. 
  • Six person limit
  • Pick up is under Douglas Ave. Bridge East Bank
  •  The schedule is subject to change based on weather and river conditions
  • It is first come, first serve
Shermans says he will stay a little later if people are in line and have been waiting. The rides cost $5 per person; children under 5 and dogs ride free. We should say “pets are free” because he said he had cats, ferrets, and even a pot-belly pig on the boat.
River Rapids Wichita Pontoon Rides
The boat rides only last about 15 minutes, and he doesn’t take reservations or sell tickets. It’s purely a first come, first served type thing.
Sherman Says, I load and unload under the Douglas Street Bridge on the East bank (the Drury and Century II side and we miter down to the Wichita Boathouse, putter back up to the Keeper of the Plains, and then back to the Douglass Street bridge. The popular time to board is 8:45ish to be onboard as the Keeper Fire Kettles light at 9:00. Again, no reservations taken, so I tell folks that if they want to see the fire, the best trick is to be in line about 8:30 and allow others to go ahead of you as you time the 9:00 ride… as it’s first come first served. 
River Rapids Wichita Pontoon Ride
 The boat is wheelchair accessible, as is the river walkway.
Parking is available at:
  • A. Price Woodard Park
  • Century II area
  • North of the Drury

Click HERE for Related Articles:

Self-Service Kayak Rentals in Wichita 

Wichita Summer Activity Checklist 

Farmers Markets in Wichita 

Keeper of the Plains and Wichita Troll 

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