My friend Kim and I were walking along Lincoln Memorial Drive in Milwaukee on Sunday October 17,2010 when we came upon some paddle boats in the water. She decided to take some photos and then I went and talked to the woman who runs Juneau Park Paddleboats Inc. I found out her name is Valerie Ritter.
I asked Valerie when the paddle boat season starts for them. Valerie said “Well we start as soon as the weather turns. Sometimes it’s the end of April, sometimes it’s the beginning of May, mid-May, and then we go to the end of October. We just kind of ride the weather and then the weather is nice the last month or so.”
Valerie has been running the paddle boat dock since 1996. She says that is their only location. The charge for the paddle boats is “$5 per person and that’s for a 30 minute ride and children have to be at least one year old. That’s the minimum age” she said. They also require a driver’s license or state ID. Life jackets are provided and must be worn by all passengers. Parental consent is necessary for people under 16 years of age. They reserve the right of refusal to minors under 18 years of age without consent.
Valerie was asked about how big the area the paddle boats can be navigated around. “It goes down to the Veteran’s Memorial at the south end and it goes up to the road at the north end so its closed.”
Juneau Park Paddleboats also offers Remote Control Sailboats for $5.00 a boat for a half hour. These are toy sailboats that can be operated from the shore. They were already put away for the winter when we got there. “They’re very fun!” Valerie remarked.
Valerie runs the paddle boat business with her husband Tim. He was down on the pier while we were talking with Valerie. Kim asked if they worked for the county. Valerie said “We are all private vendors down here so we contract with the Parks Department.”
I asked if she was busy this weekend. “It has been a little on the quiet side today and yesterday. I think there’s a lot going on with people. School too. That kind of takes people away and they have other things to do” Valerie stated.
Kim told her we might be back some other time to rent the paddle boats. “If the weather is iffy you can always call us before you come down to see if we’re open. That will save you a trip” Valerie offered.
There are only a few weekends left that the paddle boats will be available this year. You might head down to Milwaukee’s lakefront for some fun and good exercise on a Juneau Park paddle boat.
Juneau Park Paddleboats is located at Veteran’s Park Lagoon on Milwaukee’s lakefront. Valerie can be contacted at 414-217-7235 or 414-466-7235. Her email address is [email protected]