If you are looking for a unique and memorable way to spend a day with your kids, why not visit a tall ship museum? Tall ships are large sailing vessels that were used for trade, exploration, and warfare in the past. They have a rich and fascinating history that can inspire curiosity and imagination in children of all ages.
Tall ship museums are not just static displays of old boats. They are interactive and immersive attractions that let you experience what life was like on board these majestic vessels. You can tour the decks, cabins, galley, and engine room, learn about the crew’s daily routines, challenges, and adventures, and even join them for a sailing trip on the open water!
In this article, we will introduce you to some of the best tall ship museums for kids in the US and around the world. We will also give you some tips on how to make the most of your visit and what to expect from your tall ship adventure.
What are the benefits of visiting a tall ship museum for kids?
Visiting a tall ship museum can be a fun and educational experience for kids of all ages. Here are some of the benefits of taking your kids to a tall ship museum:
Learning about history, culture, and science
Tall ships played an important role in shaping the world we live in today. They were used for exploration, discovery, trade, colonization, and warfare. They carried people, goods, ideas, and diseases across oceans and continents.
They also faced many challenges and dangers from storms, pirates, diseases, and wars.
By visiting a tall ship museum, kids can learn about the history, culture, and science behind these amazing vessels and their voyages.
Developing skills and values
Tall ships required a lot of skill and teamwork to operate. The crew had to work together to navigate, sail, maintain and defend the ship. They also had to cope with harsh conditions, limited resources, and diverse cultures.
By visiting a tall ship museum, kids can develop skills such as problem-solving, communication, cooperation and resilience. They can also learn values such as courage, curiosity, respect and responsibility.
Fun and adventure
Tall ships are not boring museums. They are exciting attractions that offer a variety of activities for kids to enjoy. Kids can explore the ship’s features, touch and feel the artifacts, watch demonstrations and performances, participate in games and workshops, and even sail on the ship!
They can also use their imagination to create their own stories and adventures on board.
What are some of the best tall ship museums for kids?
There are many tall ship museums around the world that offer a great experience for kids. Here are some of the best ones that we recommend:
Ocean Institute (Dana Point, California)
The Ocean Institute is a nonprofit organization that provides ocean education programs for students and visitors. It has two historic tall ships:
- The Pilgrim, a replica of the vessel that Richard Henry Dana Jr. sailed on in his famous book Two Years Before the Mast;
- The Spirit of Dana Point, a replica of a 1770s privateer used during the American Revolution.
Visitors can tour the ships, learn about their history and operation, watch cannon firings and sail handling demonstrations, and even join overnight or day sails on the Spirit of Dana Point.
Michigan Maritime Museum (South Haven, Michigan)
The Michigan Maritime Museum is dedicated to preserving and sharing the maritime heritage of the Great Lakes.
It has five vessels in its fleet:
- Friends Good Will, a replica of an 1810 topsail sloop that served in the War of 1812;
- Lindy Lou, an electric launch that offers river cruises;
- USCG 36460, a restored Coast Guard motor lifeboat;
- Merry Time, a replica of a 19th-century Great Lakes fishing tug;
- And Bernida, a restored 1921 racing yacht that won the first Chicago-Mackinac race.
From the creaking wooden decks to the towering masts that kiss the sky, these ships beckon children to explore and unravel the mysteries of maritime history.
Whether it’s the thrill of hoisting a sail, the intrigue of navigating a ship, or the wonder of learning about shipbuilding techniques, there is no shortage of immersive activities to engage young minds.
Jeanie Johnston Tall Ship & Famine Museum (Dublin, Ireland)
The Jeanie Johnston is a replica of a 19th-century cargo ship that carried thousands of Irish emigrants to North America during the Great Famine. It is also one of the few ships that never lost a passenger or crew member during its voyages.
Visitors can tour the ship, learn about its history and design, hear stories of the passengers and crew who sailed on it, see artifacts from the original ship, and experience life on board through interactive exhibits.
Recommended reading: Top 8 Tall Ship Museums in the World
How to make the most of your visit to a tall ship museum?
To make your visit to a tall ship museum more enjoyable and meaningful, here are some tips to follow:
Plan ahead. Check the museum’s website for information on opening hours, admission fees, parking, accessibility, facilities, and events. Book your tickets online if possible to avoid queues and save money. If you want to join a sailing trip, make sure you reserve your spot in advance as they tend to sell out quickly.
Prepare your kids. Before you go, talk to your kids about what they will see and do at the museum. Explain to them what a tall ship is, why it is important, and what they can learn from it. You can also read books, watch videos or play games related to tall ships to spark their interest and curiosity. Make sure your kids are dressed comfortably and appropriately for the weather and the activities. Bring snacks, drinks, sunscreen, hats, and jackets as needed.
Engage with the staff and volunteers. The staff and volunteers at the museum are usually very friendly and knowledgeable. They can answer your questions, tell you stories, show you how things work, and give you tips on what to see and do. Don’t be shy to approach them and ask for their help. They are there to make your visit more enjoyable and educational.
Have fun and be respectful. Remember that the tall ship museum is not just a place to look at old boats. It is a place to have fun and learn something new. Explore the ship’s features, touch and feel the artifacts, watch demonstrations and performances, participate in games and workshops, and even sail on the ship!
Use your imagination to create your own stories and adventures on board. At the same time, be respectful of the ship, the staff, the volunteers, and the other visitors. Follow the rules and instructions, don’t touch or damage anything that is not allowed, don’t run or climb where it is not safe, and don’t litter or make noise where it is not appropriate.
Tall ship museums are great places to visit with kids. They offer a fun and educational experience that can teach kids about history, culture, science, skills, and values. They also offer a variety of activities that can spark curiosity and imagination in kids of all ages.
If you are looking for a unique and memorable way to spend a day with your kids, why not visit a tall ship museum? You will not regret it!
We hope this article has given you some useful information and tips on how to visit a tall ship museum with kids. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us.