Below is a list of tours that we offer.
However, we can accommodate your custom tour needs as well.
Best of Bluff City – The Treasures of Historic Alton
Sit back and relax, either aboard your own Motorcoach or the Bluff City Trolley, as we present a narrated tour of the many historic sites and beautifully restored homes of 169 year-old Alton, IL. Highlights include the Robert Wadlow statue, erected in honor of the world’s tallest person; the magnificent mansions of the Middletown Historic District; the Lovejoy Monument, dedicated to our nation’s first free-press martyr; and the quaint Christian Hill Historic District, with its’ spectacular views of the Mighty Mississippi. This popular two-hour (basic tour) of Historic Alton has become one of the favorites of people visiting this area. A tasty luncheon can be arranged at one of the charming local tearooms or restaurants.
A Bluff City Tour’s guide is pleased to be your “conductor” for this special tour of remembering, as we turn back the hands of time and experience the historic and legendary sites that were such an important part of African-American history and the pre-Civil War grassroots movement known commonly as…the Underground Railroad. Through the works of area historians, visiting groups will have the opportunity to become better acquainted with such Underground Railroad legends as Harriet Tubman, Isaac Kelley, abolitionist Elijah P. Lovejoy and U.S. Senator, Lyman Trumbull, author of the 13th amendment which abolished slavery. A unique luncheon can also be arranged in a traditional African-American Church, or a delightful local tearoom.
Village Sites & Bluff Top Delights
ALL ABOARD for an exciting day in Great River Road Country. First on the agenda will be a tour of Historic Alton, or a tour of the Historic Village of Elsah and Principia College, the only Christian Science College in the country. We continue the adventure by traveling along the Great River Road to the river-town of Grafton, IL. Once in Grafton the group travels some 300 feet to the top of the bluff and our lunch destination…Tara Point Inn. This magnificent bluff-top hideaway will provide a delightful setting for a delicious catered luncheon and a breathtaking view of the Illinois and Mississippi rivers far below. This activity is a great way to usher in the Spring season.
Fall color tours are always very popular for groups visiting Great River Road Country. This type of activity can be as simple as a drive along the Great River Road (America’s newest National Scenic Byway) with lunch at Pere Marquette Lodge or for the more adventuresome; we might suggest a cruise aboard the Grampa Woo, a 125 passenger yacht that visits the Alton area during the Month of October. Depending upon the time of day chosen for the cruise, the package could include lunch or dinner, and of course, cruises can also be scheduled during the summer or early fall.
Appreciation of the area’s natural environment is the focus of this unique “nature lovers” tour. It offers a unique opportunity to visit one of the community’s many treasures…the Olin Nature Preserve. Situated high atop the bluffs of the newly designated National Scenic Byway, this beautiful 293 acre preserve is home to approximately 140 species of birds, an assortment of wildlife and features a hardwood forest, walking trails and a rare hill prairie. As owners and managers of the Olin Preserve, a representative from The Nature Institute will be on hand to welcome the group and personally demonstrate the priceless value of our natural heritage. The 1200 acres of the Riverlands National Wildlife Sanctuary also affords our “Nature Lovers” another unique venue for birding. Depending on the season, visitors can see thousands of migratory ducks, Trumpeter Swans, North American White Pelicans, the American Kestrel, and the majestic Bald Eagle just to name a few.
A guided tour of the Melvin Price Lock and Dam #26R offers visitors an “up close and personal” view of this magnificent navigational site, once considered to be the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers largest construction project in the nation. Not only does the design and operation of this formidable structure incorporate the latest advances in engineering, technology and accessible architecture, but it is also sensitive to the ecology of the river basin. Enjoy this opportunity to see what takes place during the “locking” process, and learn first hand how this facility is bringing significant economic benefits and recreational opportunities to the entire region. The adjacent National Great Rivers Museum also adds a “hands on” touch, as well as, supplementing the educational aspect of this day along the Mighty Mississippi.
Lewis & Clark – A Day of Discovery
As the newly opened Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center, located near Alton in Hartford, IL has been designated as Site #1 on the National Lewis & Clark Heritage Trail, visitors to the area can now enjoy a rare opportunity to re-trace the story of one of the greatest expeditions of all time that just celebrated its’ Bicentennial from 2004-2006. A variety of tours can be made available to visiting groups depending on the length of their stay in the area. The highlight of each tour will be a visit to the 14,000 square foot interpretive center featuring hands-on exhibits, a multi media presentation entitled “At Journeys Edge”, an authentically replicated camp site and the show piece – a life-sized cut-away replica of the 55 foot keelboat used by the 44 men who were known as the Corps of Discovery. Full and multiple-day programs can also include visits to the city of Cahokia, IL to visit the Cahokia Courthouse where mail and communication was exchanged between President Jefferson and Lewis & Clark, the Holy Family Parish log church which predates colonial Williamsburg, and the home of Nicholas Jarrot, the man who owned the property where Camp Du Bois was built opposite the mouth of the Missouri River and visits to Lewis & Clark sites in St. Charles and St. Louis.
While visiting in the area, groups may enjoy theatrical performances at the Fox Theater, Stages, or Westport Playhouse in St. Louis just to name a few, or during the summer months, they may wish to experience a fabulous musical production under the stars at The Muny in Forest Park. Those groups wishing to experience excellent “local talent” may choose a couple of options as well:
Alton Little Theatre, now entering their 72nd Season of live community theatre, offers a wide variety of quality productions throughout the year. This talented group of actors has proven to be very popular with visiting groups and always provides a wonderful evening or afternoon of entertainment. Quite often this type of activity is coupled with dinner either before or after the performance depending upon whether the activity is scheduled for evening or a Sunday afternoon matinee.
The “Die Laughing” Dinner Theatre located in the Holiday Inn – Alton & Holiday Inn Select in St. Peters offers a second option for groups wishing to be entertained. A variety of shows promise laughter in great abundance as “Lucy and Ricky” are re-visited or perhaps the group would prefer checking in on “Archie & Edith Bunker”. Steve Davis, one of the nation’s best Elvis Impersonators can also offer groups a toe-tapping musical journey through the icon’s historic career. Lots of audience participation compliments a delicious 4-course lunch or dinner.
Behind the Scenes
Visits behind the scenes are arranged at various locations such as a TV station, radio station, the St. Louis Post Office, the Federal Reserve, or even Busch Stadium just to name a few. A lunch site is chosen based upon the location of the particular sites chosen for touring. For some groups, a ride on the MetroLink light rail train has been added.
Church tours are always popular with senior groups and can be arranged for the St. Louis area or on the Illinois side. A special “church luncheon” can often be arranged to add a little “home-made” flavor to the day.
The Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House located in Faust County Park in Chesterfield, MO offers groups a rare opportunity to “walk with the butterflies”. Combined with a visit to the Shaw Arboretum this day for lover’s of nature will surely bring back fond memories of lazy summer days. The Shaw Arboretum is affiliated with the Missouri Botanical Garden and features woodland, prairie, savannah, and wetland habitats in a natural setting. The groups’ visit would include a wagon-tram ride with a Shaw naturalist; a tour of the Manor House and a visit to the Whitmire Wildflower Garden. A tasty luncheon will be enjoyed at Hawthorne Inn in the rolling hills of Labadie, MO.
Wine Country Adventure
A Bluff City Tours’ style Wine Country Adventure features wine tasting, good food and great fun laced with just the proper amounts of historic information. Hermann, Augusta, or Washington, MO are just a few of the options. Specific itineraries are arranged depending upon the location chosen.
Join the Bluff City Crew as we usher in the 2006 Holiday Season (or anytime really) and enjoy a potpourri of “pampered” shopping experiences. A far cry from the hustle and bustle of regular “Mall” shopping, this unique sort of day will include a personally guided shopping tour, a gourmet lunch, beverages and special treats throughout the day, and above all, the opportunity to discover some of the most unusual and unique stores tucked into the corners of the River Bend region or quaint St. Louis neighborhoods. A really great way to discover that “little something” for the “special someone” on your holiday shopping list.
Holiday light tours featuring Christmas Wonderland at Rock Spring Park in Alton, IL or the Way of Lights at Our Lady of the Snows Shrine in Belleville, IL or Winter Wonderland at Tilles Park in St. Louis, MO can be arranged for either local groups or groups visiting the area. In order to make the evening even more memorable, the light tours can be combined with dinner and a seasonal theatre or musical production. Holiday House Tours and Craft Shows are other options during the Christmas Season.
Eagle Tours (bird slide show)
Each year the majestic American Bald Eagle returns to its winter roosting sites along the Mississippi River near Alton. Our typical guided tour includes transportation by Trolley or Motorcoach, continental breakfast, a day-long adventure of eagle and wildlife spotting along the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers, and a delicious family-style fried chicken dinner (lunch) at Pere Marquette Lodge. Step-On Guide service can be provided for those groups having their own transportation. Please check the SEASONAL TOUR section of our Web Site for additional “Sample of Eagle Country” tours.
The Back Roads of America
A number of groups are discovering that some of the small towns throughout the area have a great deal to offer in the way of history and exploration. These communities located on the “back roads” would include such towns as Highland, IL, Greenville, IL, Lebanon, IL, Freeburg, IL, Carlinville, IL, Defiance, MO, etc., etc., etc. Each of these small towns would bring about an itinerary plan designed around the uniqueness of the community and when possible, would feature a lunch experience reflecting the theme of the day.
And LOTS More
In addition to the activities previously outlined, Bluff City Tours would be pleased to organize group visits to such other area attractions as:
Most importantly, we want you to know that accomplishing your objectives is the MOST IMPORTANT detail for us, and if you have suggestions or wish to “Mix and Match” any of the options that you have seen listed, we want you to feel free to contact us and we will be happy to create a unique custom itinerary just for you and your group.
* St. Louis Symphony
* Missouri Botanical Garden
* Fairmount Park Race Track
* Gateway Arch
* Anheuser Busch Brewery
* St. Louis Science Center
* Queeny Pops Concerts
* Cardinal/Rams Games
* Old/New Cathedral
* St. Charles, MO
* St. Louis Art Museum
* Grant’s Farm