Winter Wildlife & Eagle Cruises
ADDED: Sunday March 12 at 4:15 pm (start of Daylight Savings)
Winter Wildlife and Eagle Cruises – departing from the Connecticut River Museum in Essex, CT
RiverQuest has teamed up with the Connecticut River Museum for our winter cruises!
In February and March we will depart from the Connecticut River Museum docks at the end of Main Street in ESSEX.
With this partnership, you not only get to enjoy the river and its wildlife from the water, but also the entire museum and their special Eagles of Essex exhibit.
As the river, lakes and ponds to our north freeze, Eagles and others make their way to the lower CT River for their favorite food – FISH. Join us on this 2 hour “on-the-water” cruise to search for eagles and other winter wildlife. This is Mark and Mindy’s 14th year providing these popular cruises and in the past we have spotted up to a record 41 eagles, 3 types of grebes, fox, 3 types of swans, 3 types of mergansers, golden eagle, coyote, deer, many hawk species, 3 types of seals, many different gulls, loons, and even a bobcat. We will have Naturalists on board to narrate and make sure you don’t miss a thing!
RiverQuest has a heated cabin, but we suggest that you dress in warm layers since the best views will be from the open decks. Don’t forget your camera and binoculars! No binoculars? No worries, we have plenty on board for you to borrow! We will also provide complimentary coffee and tea.
We are hopeful that having RiverQuest further south this winter in Essex Harbor will decrease the chances of cancellations due to ice.
GPS - Connecticut River Museum, 67 Main Street, Essex, CT
Directions: CT Route 9 North to Exit 3 (Essex) and follow signs to Connecticut River Museum and Essex Historic Waterfront. The Dock is located at the foot of Main Street on the Connecticut River.
Hang around in Essex and have breakfast, lunch or dinner at local restaurants: Abby's Place, the Griswold Inn or the Black Seal. Olive Oyls deli has sandwiches and other food to go and Essex Coffee and Tea has food, too! Some nice retail shops to visit, also.
2017 Dates/Deaprture Times:
Photo by Jeri Duefrene
Saturdays - Sundays:
9:00 to 11:00
11:30 to 1:30
2:00 to 4:00
2/4 - 2/5; 2/11 - 2/12; 2/18 - 2/19; 2/25 - 2/26
3/4 - 3/5; 3/11 - 3/12; 3/18 - 3/19
10:00 to 12:00
12:30 to 2:30
2/10; 2/17; 2/24
3/3; 3/10; 3/17
Come out and play and beat Winter Cabin Fever!
Come out of your winter doldrums and experience the beauty and solitude of the lower Connecticut River during this wonderful time of year! It is so different now then it is in the summer months, no boats and with no leaves on the trees, our wildlife viewing is much easier.
Although our primary mission is to search for and observe visiting and resident Bald Eagles (we will pass three nests on our journey), we will also search for many other varieties of local winter wildlife.
Birds of Prey:
Red Tailed Hawk
Rough Legged Hawk
Sharp Shinned Hawk
Red Shouldered Hawk
Green Winged Teal
Great Black Back
Pied Billed Grebe
Red Throated Grebe
Red Throated Loon
So, come aboard and see what we find on your cruise!
*Due to the length of this winter cruise, we ask that no children under 10 years old be booked. Please email us for questions/comments.
*Due to the popularity of these cruises, they do sell out, so, reservations are required. Please use our on-line booking "reservations" button. We can sometimes take on last minute passengers, so, email us anytime.
We want to remind everyone that this is a nature cruise. The weather can change drastically in minutes; rain, wind, fog, ice and heavy snow may pop up. There are times when a cruise may be canceled very last minute. We will of course try to give as much notice as possible and we will only cancel if there is a safety issue or wildlife viewing will be affected. So please, be patient and understanding with us.
ALWAYS....before you come, check our home page or call 860-662-0577 for up-to-date cruise information.
Private Charter Price: Please email us to discuss more.
Special days/times for school groups or other groups can be set up.
Thank you! Captain Mark and Mindy.
Please add your name to our mailing list and we will keep you updated!
Geology Cruise on the Lower CT River
Connecticut and the Connecticut River is had "rich" geology. We will have a geologist onboard to tell you all about how the Connecticut River formed and many other interesting geological facts of the river.Departure from Eagle Landing Park, Haddam.
Selden Island Exploration
RiverQuest will leave Haddam and cruise south down the Connecticut River to Selden Island where passengers will disembark onto this 640 acre island, the largest island in the state of Connecticut and a Connecticut State Park. In the late 1800’s, a huge granite quarry, that primarily supplied paving stones to New York City and Philadelphia, operated on Selden Island. A naturalist and/or historian will guide a hiking tour on the island pointing out wildlife, plant life, geology and will explain the fascinating stone quarrying history of the island. At the "top" of the island we will pause so that you can enjoy a beautiful panoramic view of the Connecticut River. The hike portion of the trip lasts about two hours (this includes stopping at points of interest) and is fairly strenuous, dress appropriately. Bring a lunch or a snack with you to munch on as we cruise back to Haddam. $40 per person.
CRUISE DATE: Saturday, May 23, 2015 - Depart at 8:30am. Return around 12:30pm. Please call CT Audubon EcoTravel Division at 860-767-0660 to reserve a spot on this cruise.
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East Haddam (and more) History River Cruise
Join us aboard RiverQuest and take a relaxing evening cruise on the lower Connecticut River, departure from Eagle Landing State Park in Haddam. Learn about the history of the Connecticut River from members of the East Haddam Historical Society. Learn about Venture Smith, the Goodspeed family and other influential local founding fathers. We will cruise through the towns of East Haddam, Haddam, Lyme and Chester. Bring a picnic basket if you’d like. Light refreshments will be served.
Mother's Day Cruise
Join us aboard RiverQuest and spend some quality time with Mom! Depart from Eagle Landing State Park in Haddam (across the river from the Goodspeed).
On this special day, MOM IS HALF PRICE! NOTE: Mom must be accompanied with a child of any age!
This 90 minute cruise departs at 11:30am, 1:30pm and 3:30pm and is $15 kids, $20 adults, but, on Mother’s Day, May 10th, Mom cruises for only $10.
Learn about the nature and history of the lower Connecticut River. See the beautiful Spring Foliage!
Let Mom have a relaxing morning, maybe breakfast in bed, a light brunch, then bring your family lunch on board or have a bite to eat before or after your cruise at a fine local restaurant in East Haddam, Chester or Essex.
NOTE: Mom must be accompanied with a child of any age!
5/14/17 is canceled. May 20 is postpone date is: Saturday (not Sunday) at 11:30am and 1:30pm!
History Cruise "Commerce and Conflict on the Connecticut River in early Colonial days" aboard RiverQuest
Journalist and Connecticut historian Erik Hesselberg will entertain passengers with a lively talk during a cruise on the lower Connecticut River. Hesselberg has spent a decade researching the early history of the river for a book in progress. He is a regular contributor to the Hartford Courant and President of the Middlesex County Historical Society. He will speak of the early, mysterious, almost legendary period of the first Dutch and English settlements and the friends and enemies they made among the native peoples. The journey on the river will encompass parts of the towns of Haddam, East Haddam, Chester and Lyme. Depart from Eagle Landing State Park in Haddam. Light apps will be provided. The cost is $35pp. No one under 12 please. Easy on-line booking and more information at: ctriverquest.com. RiverQuest phone: 860-662-0577. Gift Certificates Available.
Saturday, October 10: 3:30pm to 5:30pm.
Full Moon Spring Foliage Sunset Cruise
Join us aboard RiverQuest and take a relaxing evening cruise to enjoy the FULL MOON and SPRING FOLIAGE and SUNSET on the lower Connecticut River, departure from Eagle Landing State Park in Haddam. This will be a cruise to no where, timed so that, weather permitting, we will see the full moon rise. We will also see the beautiful hues of the spring foliage and the beauty of the river at twilight. See local wildlife and various points of interest including many beautiful homes .Bring your picnic basket and favorite beverage. Visit our website: ctriverquest.com to learn more and to reserve your spots with our easy on-line booking. Cost is $35 per person. No children under 12. RiverQuest phone: 860-662-0577. Gift Certificates Available.
Sunset 8:08, Moon rise: 7:55
5/10/17 - Wednesday 6:30 - 8:30
Fall Foliage Cruises
Join us aboard RiverQuest for our Fall Foliage Cruises.
The foliage begins to change in late September and there will be color all through October.
On our regularly scheduled 90 minute Gillette Castle Viewing Daytime Cruises, we will cruise a little north and then south, where you will also see the changing foliage on the many varieties of trees along the lower Connecticut River.
Time: Wednesday and Thursday: 11:30am. Friday: 1:30pm.
Cost: $20 adults, $15 children. On Wednesday and Thursday 11:30am the cost is $18pp for seniors (over 60).
We are offering different times on the weekends this October. On this scheduled one hour Gillette Castle Viewing Daytime Cruise, we will cruise south, where you will see the changing foliage on many varieties of trees along the river.
Time: Saturday and Sunday: 12:30pm and also at 2:00pm
Special Foliage Sunset Cruises:
Depart 3:30pm, return 5:30pm.
Sunday, October 8
Saturday, October 14
Saturday, October 22
Saturday, October 28
$35pp (RiverQuest), $40pp (Adventure) no one under 12.
Always please check our Calendar to confirm departure days and times. Private charters take precedence.