It’s a smooth ride floating down Oklahoma City’s Bricktown Canal. The Bricktown Water Taxi is family friendly and perfect for all ages. The driver of our boat let my 2 1/2-year-old daughter honk the horn, and needless to say, she was thrilled! The charming canal even inspired her to sing "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" as we cruised along. The entire canal is 8/10 of a mile long and takes about 40 minutes to float. Passengers glide along in the 4 1/2-foot-deep water at a comfortable pace.
The water taxi took it’s maiden voyage in July 1999 and has been a huge success. More than 100,000 people take the water taxi every year. Along the way, cruisers see a beautiful mosaic created by Oklahoma City Community College students for Oklahoma’s 2007 centennial. The mosaic incorporates Oklahoma symbolism throughout. Riders also see a Native American sculpture created by Enoch Kelly Haney, the Seminole/Creek artist who created the sculpture atop the Oklahoma State Capitol dome. Alongside the canal are peaceful waterfalls and rockscaping features that captured my children’s attention. One of the largest and most magnificent sights are the bronze sculptures near the south end of the canal, which portray the 1889 Oklahoma Land Run. The Oklahoma Centennial Land Run Monument was started in 2007, and every year more of the heroic-sized sculptures are added to it. When it’s finished, the project will include 45 sculptures totaling 365 feet in length. The monument will be one of the largest freestanding bronze sculptures in the world. One of the many fun facts we learned along the way: A self-portrait of the artist, sculptor Paul Moore, a University of Oklahoma professor, can be seen as one of the horse riders facing the canal.
To pay for the construction of the canal, citizens of Oklahoma City approved a one-cent sales tax in the early 1990s. The resulting set of projects, known as MAPS, or Metropolitan Area Projects, paid for the canal before it was even opened. This impressive feat has gotten the attention of other states and cities, whose officials have often come to check out the delightful canal.
Rides on the canal are given from March until Thanksgiving. After Thanksgiving, sponsored Holiday rides are free to the public during the month of December, giving travelers a lovely view of the canal’s Christmas lights and decorations.
When you buy a ticket, you’ll receive a wristband that gives you an all day pass for the water taxi. You can get on and off at different locations during the tour. The wristband also gives you a discount at the nearby RIVERSPORT Rapids next to the Oklahoma River, which opens in May 2016.
Group rates are available and many groups, from daycare to senior citizen groups, have taken the excursion. Large groups can reserve a charter boat ahead of time. The ticket booth and main dock are located at 111 S. Mickey Mantle Drive, across the street west from the third base entrance of the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. Hours vary by time of year, but are usually mid-morning to evening. More information is available at http://www.bricktownwatertaxi.com.