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San Francisco Maritime Museum/Aquatic Park Bathhouse Building
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San Francisco Hop-on Hop-off Tour
Ranked #150 of 528 things to do in San Francisco
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Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: Find everything seaworthy - ship models, ship relics, scrimshaw, whaling gear and figureheads - in this free maritime museum.
Hartsville, South Carolina
Level Contributor
86 reviews
36 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“Hidden jewel...”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 11, 2013 via mobile

We happened upon the museum by accident and we loved this little stop. Great examples of the ships that come in and out of the bay. The new waterfront exhibit was a wonderful exhibit that was one of the best exhibits I have seen in a smaller venue. Such a nice jewel at the end of the wharf...

1 Thank joeut1722
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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73 reviews from our community

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Houston, Texas
Level Contributor
97 reviews
27 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
“Visitor Center; San Francisco Maritime National Park”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 25, 2012

If you've got water in your veins or ever wondered how San Francisco got along before the bridges, then you MUST, simply MUST, see this Visitor Center, the museum and the Maritime National Historical Park; it's got the best price going – FREE. It has fascinating exhibits, artifacts and films that tell you how it came to be before the days of the bridges and how life worked. It's amazing to think of life before the islands were connected by bridges - the gold rush, shipwrecks, documents, photographs, LOTS. It also shows you how San Francisco became a major ocean route. By all means, go and see.

Visited December 2012
Thank Desiree_y2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Montreal, Canada
Level Contributor
582 reviews
193 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 280 helpful votes
“An interesting way to spend a couple of hours”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 14, 2012

It is certainly worth paying the nominal fee to go onboard the various ships. The Balclutha is particularly interesting. They do a wonderful job with videos and displays providing the detailed history of the ship. The other ships are also quite fun to tour. overall, you get a great glimpse into what seagoing was like in the past. Don't miss the free museum across the street in the visitor center. It has a great history of the waterfront.

Visited November 2012
Thank FuzzyBeaver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seoul, South Korea
Level Contributor
75 reviews
43 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
“Nice ships and museum...”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 6, 2012

I really enjoy visiting the ships. The Eureka Ferryboat is interesting and they should program night visits, it would be scary – like night tour in Alcatraz. The other ship you can go on is Balclutha: very interesting one. I really enjoy the opportunit to visit an old ship so well preserved. Better than that it would be to sail it…
We met a group of children, probable from a local school, been conducted by a guy dressed like a sailor. Unfortunately in my country we don’t give much value on such experiences.
Obs: to go next to the ships is free, but if you want to go on it, you must pay USD 5.00 per person.

Visited October 2012
1 Thank Igor_Brazil
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hong Kong, China
Level Contributor
5,331 reviews
3,419 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11,305 helpful votes
“Combined with Hyde Pier, a genuinely great addition to the Fisherman's Wharf area”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 26, 2012

Interestingly, some of the best attractions along Fisherman's Wharf are free to enjoy, like the historic Hyde Pier and the San Francisco Maritime National

Historical Park Visitor Center, which is just across the street. We quite like this small, well-presented centre of San Francisco's maritime history. Some nice models of old sailing vessels are on display and now there is a new section open called 'Walk Along The Waterfront' which offers some recreated scenes from San Francisco's maritime past. This greatly helps history come to life and makes the Visitor Centre much more child and family friendly. In this regard, there is also a room dedicated to children found next to the large ship wreck display.

Further, there is always a ranger around to ask questions and the staff can give you some information about the historical vessels available for visit (US$5) right across the street at Hyde Pier. In the end, it’s a pleasant way to spend 20-30 minutes before walking across the street to visit Hyde Pier.

The museum is located on the corner of Hyde and Jefferson Streets, next to the Argonaut Hotel and the very good Blue Mermaid Restaurant (a rare good stop for chowder in the Wharf area). Also, just around the corner is where the famous SF Cable Car Wharf turn-around station is found.

Overall, combined with a visit to the historical Hyde Park just across the street, the Maritime National Historical Park Visitor Center is one of our favorite attractions along the Wharf. Those with an interest in maritime, historical or budget friendly attractions will probably enjoy this area of SF.

Visited September 2012
3 Thank BradJill
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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