The Princess Wenonah returns to a downtown park for the summer season

Royalty is coming to Wenonah Park this summer.

Bay City Boat Lines moves its well-known boat, the Princess Wenonah, to dock at the park, offering public daytime excursions, evening dinner cruises, and private charters. The Islander, which is Bay City Boat Lines’ smaller boat, will stay at a dock near Scottys Sandbar, 1201 Evergreen Drive.

The Islander will remain at Scotty's Sandbar on the Middlegrounds.Moving the Princess Wenonah to the downtown park should make it easier for people to find the dock and increase awareness of the tours, says Michelle Judd from Bay City Boat Lines.

Bay City Boat Lines formed in 1998 and docked near downtown until moving to the Middlegrounds in 2014.

“We are very grateful,” to Scotty’s Sandbar, Judd says. “They’ve provided us with a home and that’s worked very well.”

However, the Middlegrounds offers limited visibility for the boats. “It’s a nice quiet, little island. It’s been difficult for people from out of town to know it’s available,” Judd says. “(The boats) are really a tourist attraction and belong in the (downtown) area.”

The summer sailing schedule opens May 15 and is still evolving, but Judd hopes to offer tours similar to what’s been available in the past. She is planning evening cruises featuring dinner, drinks, and live music. In the past, the boats have been in the park and open for visitors during downtown events such as Wine Walk or Apps and Ales. The boat also has hosted fundraisers during local festivals. This year, Judd says she already has booked a couple weddings and other private charters.

One popular option that’s returning this year are weekday, mid-morning history tours a few times during the summer. The free history tours are perfect for visitors and locals.

“Even people who live here who get out on the boat and learn something they didn’t know,” Judd says. “Once you get on the boat, you have a different perspective on the community. You learn about history and lumbering and shipbuilding and all the things that established Bay City.”

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