On the River

Dock Expansion in Progress

Projected Completion: April 2021

Access to the dock is currently limited owing to construction. When completed, the expanded dock will be three times as large and allow easier access to boating and fishing for everyone. Thank you for your understanding!

Public Boating cancelled due to COVID-19

All public boating programs are cancelled until further notice in order to safeguard our community, visitors, and staff during the ongoing pandemic.

Bartram’s Garden is a place where people of all ages can access the Lower Schuylkill River—the quiet eight-mile stretch of tidal river from the Fairmount Dam at the Art Museum to the Delaware River confluence—for boating, fishing, and exploring.

Our boating and fishing programs include:

  • Denkyem River Guardians. Denkyem River Guardians is a paid high school internship where students develop an understanding of their own relationship to water—how it impacts them, and how they impact it. Denkyem is the ancient Adinkra symbol for crocodile, representing the adaptability and cleverness of the crocodile’s ability to live in the water yet still breathe air. We are not currently accepting applications for this internship. For more information about all the Garden’s youth programs, click here.
  • Saturday Free Boating. Every Saturday from 11am–3pm (weather & river conditions permitting), the public can paddle or row on the river in a kayak or rowboat. Experienced rowers are also available to take guests out who do not want to paddle or row themselves. No registration or experience required. Our 2019 season runs from April 27th to October 19th. For more info and updates on cancellations check out our calendar
  • FAQ: Answers to all your questions about Saturday Free Boating! Click here.
  • Summer Tuesday Free Boating. For 6 weeks July 9th – August 13th from 6pm – 8pm (weather and river conditions permitting), paddle or row on the river in a kayak or rowboat. No registration required. For more info and updates on cancellations check out our calendar
  • Last Wednesdays Free Fishing: The last Wednesday of every month, May–August 6pm- 8pm, September 5:30pm – 7:30pm. We provide free rods, tackle, bait and basic instruction. First come, first served – we have 40 rods available. You may bring your own rod. No fishing license or experience necessary; great for beginner anglers.
  • Fishing Equipment Loaner Program. Rods and tackle are available to borrow, free of charge, from the Welcome Center at Bartram’s Garden (open Mon-Fri 10am-4pm, Sat-Sun 10am-6pm). Equipment may be borrowed for up to a week at a time. Adults over the age of 16 must have a fishing license to rent, which can be purchased online.
  • Bait & tackle are available for sale in our Welcome Center! You can fish from our site anytime the park is open. All adults over the age of 16 should have a fishing license to fish.
  • Moon Rowboating. Once a month we light up our fleet of skiffs for an evening party on the river with DJ DuiJi. Drinks, snacks and moon themed activities. Rowboat excursions are free and limited to 15 mins. For more info and updates on cancellations check out our calendar
  • Tidal Schuylkill Boat Parade. Started in 2011, this annual parade on the river will take place Saturday July 27th 11am – 3pm. Bring *anything* that floats and join our Free Saturday Boaters for a party on the river. Trophies awarded for boaters in costumes and decorated boats. For more info,  check out our calendar
  • Tuesday Paddles for Bartram’s Garden membersMemberships start at $50 a year. If you are already a member, go to the calendar and select the Tuesday you would like to attend and reserve your spot.
  • Patriot Harbor Lines Cruises from Center City to Bartram’s Garden. Click here.
  • Launch your own boat on the river from our site. The Schuylkill River is a public waterway and our dock is a public dock – no launch permit is needed. There is no vehicle access, you must carry in your boat. See this detailed map for access points and parking info.