Exciting Night Cruise on the Dolly Steamboat by Lynette Carrington Discover the Secrets and Beauty of the Night with Dr. SkyFor decades, the Dolly Steamboat has been thrilling Valley residents and visitors alike with its popular sternwheeler cruise on Canyon Lake. Thousands visit each year to take in the lake vistas, soaring canyon walls and glimpses of desert wildlife while relaxing on board. The night cruise is one special excursion that takes guests out into the night waters to discover the heavens with the helpful instruction of Steve Kates, a local astronomer and radio and television personality who is also known as “Dr. Sky.”“Nearly ten years I have been privileged and honored to be a part of the Dolly Steamboat team doing what I call ‘The Dr. Sky Cruise to the Cosmos,’” says Kates. The special, 2 ½ hour cruise is focused on the nighttime sky and since Canyon Lake is away from direct city lights, the views are spectacular. Dr. Sky’s partnership with the Dolly Steamboat came naturally. “It’s always been a fascination of mine,” Kates says. “Friends of mine had boats out on the lake and they’d take me out there in the summers and into the fall… I’d look at the vistas and the beautiful scenery and then I would see this giant boat sailing across the lake with a whole bunch of people on it.” After discovering that the Dolly Steamboat was an Arizona tradition, Kates and his company, Dr. Sky, Inc. approached the cruise company to develop a special cruise designed to thrill and educate people of all ages. “It’s been a very interesting relationship and a strong one that I’m proud to be a part of,” adds Kates.The Dr. Sky Cruise to the Cosmos takes place towards the end of each month and the next cruise occurs March 26, 2016. “We try to go when the moon is out so that people can at least experience it from the cruise after they have a wonderful meal,” Kates says. “They have the opportunity to at least see something. It’s kind of ironic – we don’t put a telescope on board. What we do is after we have a lovely meal, the time is spent on the upper deck and I go around the inside of the boat and share on my iPad, some of the images of the nighttime sky.” With the assistance of a laser and some binoculars, he safely points out constellations, planets and occasionally satellites, the International Space Station, the Hubble Telescope and fireballs!Birthdays, weddings anniversaries and other special occasions are unforgettable during the nighttime cruise. In fact, Kates has had two engagements take place during his time on board the Dolly Steamboat. Those cruises have been most memorable to him.“As a radio and TV person here and around the country, it’s great to bring people out who have never experienced the beauty of Arizona’s night skies,” explains Kates. “This has been a tradition. I do my shows locally on KTAR and on about 1,000 stations nationwide.”Visit www.drsky.com and there is a “KTAR” icon on the upper right hand corner. Click to listen in to Dr. Sky’s show. Other cruises are available, too. You’ll encounter the highest levels of service and hospitality during one of the many cruises with the Steamboat Dolly. In addition to The Dr. Sky Cruise to the Cosmos, there is a daily 1 ½ hour Scenic Nature Cruise. You will learn about our desert plants and saguaros along with the some of the desert inhabitants that are found along the lake including bald eagles, water fowl and other birds. Keep your eyes peeled and you just might see some of the many big horn sheep herds that can be spotted climbing amongst the canyon’s steep trails!The Dolly Steamboat Twilight Dinner Cruise is 2 ½ hours and includes a full buffet dinner as you watch the sun sink behind the cliffs and capture the desert beauty as the moon rises and the stars reveal themselves. Private charters are also available for just about any event. The Dolly Steamboat has full catering available for guests who need it. For additional information on the Dolly Steamboat, a photo gallery, directions to the Canyon Lake Marina and to make reservations for the nighttime cruise or other cruises, visit www.dollysteamboat.com. For any other questions or to arrange private charters or corporate events, please call (480) 827-9144.