Kentucky – Dixie Belle Riverboat

Kentucky – Dixie Belle Riverboat

With departures from Shaker Landing at the Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, Kentucky, the Dixie Belle is a 115-passenger riverboat that offers one-hour sightseeing cruises on the Kentucky River.

Photo courtesy of Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill
Photo courtesy of Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill

The cruise was narrated by the captain and included both cultural and natural history of the area. To be quite honest, my kids were expecting it to be boring, but the captain’s engaging style held their attention and they were pleasantly surprised that they found it to be very interesting.

Dixie Belle Captain

Early in the cruise we crossed under High Bridge, which is a National Civil Engineering Landmark that was constructed in 1876. It is the tallest bridge above a navigable river in North America and was the tallest bridge in the world when it was constructed. Our captain told us that it is seven feet taller than the Statue of Liberty.

High Bridge

The cruise explores a very peaceful section of the Kentucky River that extends far beyond what can be traveled during the one-hour cruise. There are very few boats on this section of river because no fuel is available. That makes it ideal for kayaks and canoes to explore and keeps it clean as a source of drinking water for the region.

Kentucky River

The Kentucky Palisades, formed of limestone, stretch along the river for 100 miles. We were able to see a relatively small section of the beautiful rock formations.

Kentucky River Palisades 1

Kentucky River Palisades 2

Kentucky River Palisades 3

We passed a waterfall, but it was a little hard to see with all the lush vegetation surrounding it.

Waterfall on Kentucky River

The captain did an excellent job spotting and pointing out wildlife.  We saw several turtles on logs along the shore.

Turtle on the Kentucky River

We saw a vulture in the trees and followed a blue heron down the river.

Blue heron on the Kentucky River

My kids really enjoyed this cruise and definitely give it a thumbs up as a kid-friendly attraction.

On the Dixie Belle

Although the Dixie Belle Riverboat is part of the Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, admission to the village is not required for the riverboat.  If you’d like to spend a full day exploring the village (which I recommend), you could ride the Dixie Belle the following day without having to pay for admission to the village again.

Ready to Visit?

Dixie Belle Riverboat

Purchase tickets at the Carpenter’s Shop Craft Store at Shaker Village
Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill
3501 Lexington Road Harrodsburg, KY 40330
(800) 734-5611

Admission: $10 (13 & above), $5 (6-12), free for children 5 & under
Ride Dates: Daily April 27 through November 3
Ride Times: 2:00 PM and 4:00 PM

Arrive at Shaker Landing 30 minutes prior to departure.  Bring an umbrella or rain jacket if rain is expected!

Many thanks to the Shaker Village and Harrodsburg / Mercer County Tourist Commission who provided complimentary tickets to me and my kids  so that I could write about our experience on the Dixie Belle.  All opinions here are our own.

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