Mystic Seaport – An Amazing Maritime Museum

I have no head for heights and Papa Joe is the same so we both watched with admiration as the crew unfurled the sails on the training ship Joseph Conrad. 

We were spending the day at Mystic Seaport, the largest maritime museum in the USA. There were historic ships to explore, a  re-creation of an entire 19th-century New England seafaring village, galleries full of fascinating exhibits and a preservation shipyard where we watched restoration work being carried out. 

mystic seaport working aloft

Working aloft – good team work

Once the sails are unfurled it was time for the deck crew to sing a sea shanty and get to work!

mystic seaport heaving ropes 2

Get Ready – Heave

Suitable for  4+

Where: Mystic Seaport 75 Greenmanville Avenue, Mystic, CT 06355 Connecticut USA
Admission: Under 5 Free – Reentry free for a 2nd day within seven days from purchase – extra charge for some activities
Website: www.mysticseaport.org

Mystic Seaport is different from other maritime museums we have visited such as Chatham Historic Dockyard as it focuses on commercial rather than naval ships.

The museum tells the story of how the area along The Mystic River developed making commercial ships for trading with Europe and for the whaling industry.

mystic seaport c w morgan whaling ship

Go aboard The Charles W. Morgan Whaleship- America’s oldest commercial ship still afloat.

Imagine spending over 3 years on a voyage in cramped conditions hunting and processing whales on this small ship.  Once killed the whales were dragged aboard and cut up by hand. The whale blubber was boiled in the 2 huge vats on deck to produce whale oil.

We also visited other ships on the site as well as going into exhibition galleries and into the restored 19th century New England buildings.

mystic seaport 3

Whale Boats and original New England Buildings

It was fascinating wandering around the village seeing displays and watching craftsmen bringing alive 19 century techniques.

mystic seaport craft

Demonstrating old skills

There were areas specially for The Mayhems. A barn had been converted into a discovery centre and a house into a children’s museum with activities. Some of the craft activities such as candle making or building toy boats had a small fee.

mystic seaport children activities

Children’s Museum (top) Toy Boat Building and Discovery Area

Weather permitting, you can hire a small a boat and explore The Mystic River. Papa Joe and I were not brave enough to go out by ourselves but we did take the waterfront tour on a launch and enjoyed an excellent commentary given by the captain.

mystic seaport waterfront tour

As we went down The Mystic River we were lucky enough to watch the bascule bridge at Mystic Village being raised. After leaving Mystic Seaport we drove a short distance to Mystic Village and watched the bridge being raised again, it was fascinating to watch.

mystic seaport bascule bridge

Amazing watching the bridge swing up to let the large vessels through


Mystic Seaport is continually carrying out restoration projects and Papa Joe and I spent time watching craftsmen working.

mystic seaport restoration

Preparing timber planks for a restoration project

Getting There Mystic Seaport 75 Greenmanville Avenue, Mystic, CT 06355 Connecticut USA
Large car park opposite the main entrance
Google see map or get directions

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