During the Tarrant Regional Water District Board meeting on Tuesday, June 18, TRWD approved a three-year license agreement for Panther Island Boat Tours to operate and use a modular dock to be located at Panther Island Pavilion near Tarrant County College’s Trinity River Campus.
Shanna Cate, Director of Programming and Development, said, “We’re really excited to bring this new venture to Fort Worth and Panther Island. We’ve heard so many requests from people who want to be on the water for a leisurely activity with no swimsuit or paddle required. This will be the perfect complement to our other river activities.”
Mitch Whitten, Executive Vice President of Visit Fort Worth, the city’s tourism bureau, agrees. “Experiences are vital for residents to offer their out-of-town guests. We encourage all visitors to stay longer and experience more of Fort Worth, which is a key goal of our Destination Master Plan. New river cruises support that goal and can be enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.”
The Fort Worth Chamber also expressed enthusiasm. “This will offer our residents a whole new way to connect with our waterway and learn more about Fort Worth’s natural surroundings. The new cruises will be a unique attraction unlike anything else in the region,” said Rebecca Montgomery, the Chamber’s Senior Vice President of Advocacy. “They will be a pleasant surprise for new and relocating residents and visitors alike.”
Starting in mid-July, Panther Island Boat Tours will offer a variety of one- and two-hour cruises to and from Panther Island Pavilion near downtown Fort Worth.
One-hour family tours will be offered daily with narration about the history of the river and its impact on Fort Worth. Two-hour sunset cruises will include a mix of history with more scenic views as well as a BYOB and dinner option with relaxing music. Weekend night-time cruises will offer an opportunity to enjoy the downtown lights and see the river from a more romantic perspective. Private parties can be also chartered.
Ryan Helm, the owner of Panther Island Boat Tours, has been operating similar river cruises along the Brazos in Waco, TX., for two years. “We’re delighted that the Tarrant Regional Water District gave us the opportunity to bring this concept to Fort Worth,” he said. “The work of TRWD and the Trinity River Vision Authority has created a special excitement about this river, and a huge demand for more activities in and near it. We are excited to join the mix.”