Lake Tahoe has a rich history with lots of interesting stories. One of the most interesting historical stories is that of George Whittel Jr. and his Thunderbird Lodge. Tours of the lodge can be accessed by land or water. From Tahoe South, a fun way to get to the Thunderbird Lodge is aboard a beautifully restored 40' cruiser, Tahoe, that departs from the Zephyr Cove Marina (three miles north of Lakeside Inn and Casino).
Once onboard the boat, your captain and tour guide will slow the boat a few times to discuss several points of interest along the east shore of Lake Tahoe. During the ride, passengers can enjoy a continental breakfast, including orange juice and coffee. The scenic ride itself takes approximately one hour to reach the Thunderbird Lodge.
Upon arrival to the Thunderbird Lodge, the real fun begins...the interesting and perhaps whacky story of George Whittel Jr.'s life and the story of the Thunderbird Lodge. Your tour guide will tell you about the loss of George's twin brother at the age of three, his rejection of the idea of going to college and instead joining the circus, his love of exotic animals (and a pet Lion named Bill that he took with him wherever he went), his large inheritance of wealth from his parents, his toys (boats, cars, planes), and the many phases of construction of the Thunderbird Lodge.
Heavenly Mountain Resort has been a fixture on the south shore of Lake Tahoe for many years. For the majority of its existence, the public generally only thought about Heavenly in the winter time. That changed over a decade ago with the installation of their gondola. The gondola was an attraction in and of itself that the public could ride up to the top of the mountain and soak in amazing views of Lake Tahoe and the surrounding mountains.
Over time, the resort offered food and beverage options, a climbing wall, a zip line, summer tubing and hiking trails. However, the summer of 2014 is when Heavenly kicked open the fun summer activities door wide open! Now, they also offer three ropes courses of varying difficulty and a breathtaking zip line.
The Black Bear Challenge course has shorter challenges and is suited for first-timers and families with small children. There are a variety of paths of challenges to choose from and ends with a 30-foot controlled descent.
The Boulder Cove Challenge has two levels and is ideal for those wanting a greater challenge. This is recommended for adults and older kids. This one ends with either a 20 or 35-foot controlled descent.