All aboard! Belle of Louisville Riverboats brings our city’s rich history to life and provides a hands-on experience for students to engage with the past. Whether your class cruises on the iconic Mary M. Miller (named after America’s first licensed female steamboat captain) or on the historic Belle of Louisville (the oldest-operating Mississippi-river style steamboat in the world), your students are sure to discover a new love for learning! Teachers will work with Eric Frantz (Guest & Education Programs Manager) and Caisey Cole (Programs Coordinator) to plan a field trip that not only aligns with your curriculum but brings history to life.
This program uses inquiry-based learning to explore the Belle of Louisville’s rich river history and discover how our past affects today.
Boat: Belle of Louisville
KY Standards: 1.G.MM.1 – 4.G.KGE.1 – 8.E.KE.2
Activities: Classroom session with a hands-on component, investigation guides and a cruise
Using multiple perspectives this program explores the deep connection between steamboats and Black history on the river.
Boat: Belle of Louisville
KY Standards: Coming soon
Activities: Hands-on components, investigation guides and a cruise with narration
Guided tours of the Belle of Louisville are also available!* As your students step aboard the 108-year-old steamer, they will discover her iconic boiler room where the fireman fires the boilers for each cruise and explore the historic engine room, home to an engine older than the Belle and more.
(*Dependent on group size. Guided tours and cruises of the Belle of Louisville are only available April through October. Tours and cruises on the Mary M. Miller are available year-round.)
Customized programs and field trips can also be organized to meet the needs of the curriculum. It is recommended that teachers contact Eric Frantz at least one month ahead of the field trip to begin customizing educational materials.
Examples of past, ongoing, and future customized programs include:
Two educational materials students can receive when visiting Belle of Louisville Riverboats are Adventure Passports and Investigation Guides. Adventure Passports are best suited for grades K-6 and include games, a coloring page, history, and a map of landmarks along the river.
The Belle of Louisville Investigation Guide is available to students on guided trips. This guide is focused on connecting the Belle of Louisville with KY Standards for Social Studies and is best suited for grades 1-8. The Investigation Guide gives students the opportunity to explore the Belle’s historic engine room, learn about the first licensed female steamboat captain in America and much more.
KET has a great electronic field trip of the Belle of Louisville, which offers a glimpse of what the Belle of Louisville has to offer your students, in addition to plenty of resources and activities. To access the KET Electronic Field Trip, click here.
Just how big is the Belle? Students will measure the size of the Belle with this free downloadable activity, best suited for grades K-4. Click here to download.
Community Engagement Coordinator
A Florida native, Caisey is an actress with a dedication to her community. Working for the Belle in the Program Coordinator position applies both her creative skill and connections she has made in her time in Louisville. She hopes to help make the Belle even more of a place you cannot miss when visiting, and a place to learn from if you live here!
Guest and Education Programs Manager
Eric has worked in the museum theatre field for over 15 years and closely ties together educational programing with live experiences, both in the classroom and onstage. Being born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, the Belle of Louisville holds a special place in his heart. Working onboard this historic steamboat is a dream come true.