Sternwheeler ticket prices increase

PARKERSBURG – Those planning to visit the Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park will have to bring extra cash with an increase in the sternwheeler ticket price.

Rates for rides to and from the island on the Island Belle are being raised $1 and will cost $10 per adult and $8 per child, said park Superintendent Matt Baker.

“We haven’t raised our prices in several years and since then the cost of operations has gone up,” Baker said. “The price increase is something we put thought into and considered before we decided it needed to be done.”

The last time the park raised prices was the 2008 season when the sternwheeler tickets were also increased by $1 with adults from $8 to $9 and children from $6 to $7.

“Each year we look at our rates before each season begins and assess what they are set at based on the cost of operation and address it accordingly,” said Baker. “This year, it was decided we needed to raise the transportation rates to help offset the cost.”

While the sternwheeler tickets will cost more, charges for all other activities associated with the park will remain the same.

“None of our other rates have changed, just the transportation,” Baker said.

Tours of the mansion and museum admission are $4 for adults and $2 for children, wagon tours of the island are $5 per person and bikes are available for rent with the cost for adults at $2 per half hour and $4 per hour and for children at $1 per half hour and $2 per hour.

Tickets for the sternwheel ride to the island can be purchased at the Blennerhassett Museum, at 137 Juliana St., Parkersburg, before going to the park, or visitors can ride over and purchase a ticket on the island before the return trip on the Island Belle, the sternwheeler purchased by the park in 2009.

When the 2014 season opens on May 1, the Island Belle will depart from Point Park.

The island remains one of the primary attractions in the area with the reconstructed Blennerhassett Mansion, which is furnished with many artifacts owned by Harman and Margaret Blennerhassett or from that period, as well as narrated wagon rides of the island and bicycle rentals, a gift shop and concession stand.

The historic Putnam-Houser House, which was transported to the island from Belpre, is open for tours and boasts a restored ballroom where Margaret Blennerhassett led the inaugural first dance.