Private River School

Learn all about the Susquehannah River and surrounding landmarks from the best view you’ll find.

Come set sail with the Susquehanna River School! These scenic 75-minute cruises offer unparalleled views of the water and historic landmarks.

During the cruise students of all ages will learn about the history and natural wonders of the Susquehanna River and Harrisburg. Our qualified instructors use hands-on activities, lectures, games, and more to teach about the importance of our river and how we continue to care for it.

River School instructor teaching children about the Susquehanna River aboard the Pride of the Susquehanna

The Susquehanna River School educational programs are open and FREE to kids aged 12 and under. Parents/Adults accompanying a child pay just $15.00 per ticket.

Child learning about fish from indoor tank on Pride of the Susquehanna


Programs are held every Saturday from 9:30 am-10:45 am May through September. During the week, we offer private daytime cruises for clubs, after-school programs, school field trips, homeschoolers, scouting groups, summer recreation programs, daycare, etc.

Please fill out the form below to request your private cruise.

River School Topics

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#1 Plants, Animals, and Insects Oh My!

During this lesson we cover topics like metamorphosis, habitats, adaptations, food and shelter needs, and roles each animal plays in the ecosystem of the land and water surrounding the area. Locomotion is demonstrated with kids racing rocket balloons. Life cycles are taught through critter examples and posters. We also have a nice assortment of bones, exoskeletons, skins, resin models, and fur samples of other mammals, reptiles, fish, amphibians, and birds from the area.

Participants are able to observe and touch live samples of critters gathered locally such as tadpoles, nymphs, frogs, toads, crayfish, snails, different turtles, insects, birds, mice, etc. to explore the different animals during different stages.

#2 Protecting the Susquehanna River

In this lesson we talk about the uses of water, pollution, and filtration of polluted water. Each participant is given a film canister with a different type of “pollutant”: soap. oil, coal dust, leaf debris, salt, vinegar (acids) etc. We then teach about the sewage and filtration systems currently operating in the area, which clean the water we use every day. Two filtration experiments are completed with the participants whereby the polluted water goes through rocks of decreasing sizes, coffee filters, and cotton balls: mimicking actual filtration systems. We end the lesson talking about ways to conserve water and what each participant can do to clean up the pollution and prevent it in the future.

#3 Mankind and the Susquehanna River

In this lesson, we cover the progression of inhabitants for the past 400 years along the river. We begin with the Susquehannock Indians and their life in longhouses and villages along the river. We then progress into the early explores and settlers, the Industrial Revolution and Civil War Era with a mini lessons on simple and complex machines. finally we cover the logging, coal, and steel industry of the area.

#4 The Science and Geology of the Susquehanna River

In this lesson we teach about the formation of the Appalachian Mountains and how the Susquehanna River came to run through them. Using a sand-stream table we demonstrate how the river was formed by wind, water, ice, and soil erosion.

Tectonic plates and their shifting under water and on the crust of the earth is also discussed with hands on activities.

#5 The Susquehanna River and the Chesapeake Bay Watershed

In the lesson we discuss the role that the Susquehanna River plays within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. The lesson begins with defining what a watershed is and showing various maps of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and how the Susquehanna River plays a major role in that watershed. Next, students are introduced to how both biotic (living) and abiotic (nonliving) factors make up the watershed. Finally, students are taught about the water cycle and how water moves through the watershed.