Most major cities have guided tours of historic landmarks, but tourists who visit Boston can actually ride a duck through town. This duck isn't the web-footed kind: It's a vintage World War II amphibious vehicle originally designed to deliver Marines to enemy-held beaches.
Investment banking executive Andrew Wilson, 41, thought the vehicle would be perfect for tours of Boston, which is located on the banks of the Charles River. After leaving his job to get quackin' on the venture full time, Wilson discovered raising start-up cash was tough, but getting permits from the city to build a boat ramp and drive the duck through the city was even tougher.
Wilson's efforts finally paid off, and Boston Duck Tours opened for business in 1994. Last year, some 290,000 people paid about $15 each for 80-minute city tours.
Now with a fleet of 12 ducks, Wilson says he's never needed to advertise. "Tourists who see a duck go by see the passengers looking very happy, and that's its own advertisement," he explains. The ducks have made Wilson very happy, too: He is considering franchising the tours to other riverfront cities.