Mystic, Connecticut – Some mothers go out to brunch, or they get jewelry or a massage for Mother’s Day. I got a visit to the Mystic Seaport Museum. Who’s jealous?
Well… you should be! Here’s what the Lonely Planet New England has to say about this place:
More than a museum, Mystic Seaport is the recreation of an entire New England whaling village spread over 17 acres of the former George Greenman & Co Shipyard. To recreate the past, 60 historic buildings, four tall ships and almost 500 smaller vessels are gathered along the Mystic River.
We spent a day. But you could easily spend a year, as we barely scratched the surface. Here are some of the highlights from our day.
Mystic River Scale Model Hundreds of buildings, boats and little, tiny people, showing what the village looked like in the 19th century. My guys love a good scene, and this was no exception.
The Schooner Australia This is a wreck of a schooner, on display to show the basics of ship construction. We told the twins it was a ghost ship, and they spent about 20 minutes hiding in her hull and trying to scare the other visitors with ghost noises.
Toy Boat Building Well stocked with wooden blocks in different shapes and sizes and glue guns. Glue guns! Who knew they were so powerful? They also had “models” for the kids to copy, but my boys were having none of that.
Discovery Barn Filled with hands-on exhibits where kids can explore concepts like cross-winds, ballast, gears and pulleys, and signal flags. Cool stuff, but mostly geared toward children over the age of 8.
Charles W Morgan The last existent whaling ship in the world. This is the museum’s star attraction. It’s an impressive 107ft ship that visitors can board and explore and imagine life on board a whaling ship. Which is exactly what the twins did. (Mostly, the imagined what it would be like to sleep in the bunks.)
Playscapes Boats, of course. Perfect for my would-be pirates.
We also peeked inside many historic buildings and had a picnic on the village green. That was a full day. But we didn’t visit the working shipyard, the Planetarium, or the Children’s Museum. We also didn’t take advantage of any of the opportunities to get out on the water, including schooner charters, rowboat rentals and boathouse rides, not to mention the steamboat Sabino, which happens to be under renovation right now. Oh well… we had to save something for my next Mother’s Day present.