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‘New and fun and Instagram-able’ swan boat rentals to grace Lake Nokomis, Como Lake

There will be about two dozen of the boats available to rent in late May on each lake. The swans will light up at night.

Illuminated swan boats will soon be gliding across the waters of Como Lake in St. Paul and Lake Nokomis in Minneapolis.

Some of the new fanciful boats are already moored in the middle of Como Lake, creating a ripple of excitement among neighbors and walkers strolling around one of the city’s signature lakes.

Wheel Fun Rentals, which provides watercraft rentals at both locations, is upgrading its fleet of pedal boats this spring. It’s adding about two dozen whimsical swan-shaped boats at each lake. Rentals will cost $30 an hour. The Como location will open for the season on May 21. Swan boats will will be available at Lake Nokomis by the end of May.

“Como is a perfect location because they have the pavilion,” said Wheel Fun Rentals Regional Manager Brayan Guevara. “We think it will be beautiful scenery.”

The boats will be softly lit at sunset for twilight excursions. A meal and boat ride package with Dock & Paddle, the restaurant inside the Como Lakeside Pavilion, is in the works, said Liz McDonald, spokeswoman for St. Paul Parks and Recreation.

Guevara said his company added swan boat rentals at the Humboldt Park location in Chicago and they piqued the public’s interest.

“They attract a lot of attention. When we add swans, we see an increase in rentals,” he said.

The new pedal boats are also easier to pedal and maneuver. The swan boats at Como seat up to two adults and two children. The boats at Nokomis seat up to five. Only two people are needed to pedal.

“They are way more efficient. You go a lot faster and it requires less effort,” Guevara said.

Wheel Fun Rentals partners with the local parks departments to offer rentals including pedal boats, kayaks, canoes and and stand-up paddleboards. Life jackets are required for all rentals.

“We are always really excited to offer something new and fun and Instagram-able for people to check out.” McDonald said. “It’s a great photo opportunity. It’s a great way to get people out on the water and another excuse to visit the park.”

So far, feedback from neighbors via social media groups has been buzzy and positive, she said.

“I have seen some cool photos online in the neighbor groups,” McDonald said. “People are excited. They are fun to look at.”

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