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“Immersed in history at this urban park”

New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park
Ranked #2 of 40 things to do in New Bedford
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: New Bedford was the mid 19th century's preeminent whaling port and for a time the richest city in the world. Whaling, a leading 19th century enterprise, contributed to America's economic and political vitality. New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park helps to preserve, protect, and interpret certain districts, structures, and artifacts that are associated with the history of whaling and related social, economic, and environmental themes for the benefit and inspiration of this and future generations. The park encompasses 34 acres spread over 13 city blocks and includes the New Bedford Whaling Museum, the Seamen's Bethel, the schooner Ernestina, and the Rotch-Jones-Duff House and Garden Museum. These efforts will be undertaken in partnership with the city of New Bedford, local and regional institutions, and the Inupiat Heritage Center in Barrow, Alaska. Address is for the National Park Visitor Center.
Useful Information: Wheelchair access, Activities for older children, Bathroom facilities, Activities for young children
Level Contributor
10 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Immersed in history at this urban park”
Reviewed July 11, 2014

The New Bedford Whaling Museum dominates the few blocks of the New Bedford Whaling National Historic Park, but there really is so much to see and appreciate in a relatively small area. The National Park office has informative and creative exhibits which give you a good feel for the flavor of this historic city. The Museum is located on the corner of Johnny Cake Hill which also features the Seamen's Bethel, a lovely little house of worship which is a kind of living museum. As you walk along the walls of the Bethel, you can read the plaques placed there by the families of young men lost at sea during the heady and dangerous days of whaling. The unique pulpit is shaped like a ship's bow...if you love American history and want to walk the cobblestone streets that thousands of brave and hearty seafarers walked a 150 years ago, don't miss the New Bedford Whaling National Historic Park.

Visited October 2013
2 Thank Pamela C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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111 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
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English first
Fairhaven, MA
Level Contributor
42 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Only a few blocks, but worth the trip”
Reviewed July 10, 2014

While only a few blocks, you cannot say that there are many "urban" national parks. Walk the cobblestone streets, visit the galleries, admire the architecture. Friendly, welcoming, and quite a bargain. Visit the small cafes or gift shops. A great day trip.

Visited June 2014
1 Thank jfm02719
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Bedford, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
9 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Whaling Museum New Bedford”
Reviewed July 2, 2014

The New Bedford Whaling Museum is a world class museum with incredible exhibitions of whaling not available anywhere else in the world. This is likely because New Bedford in the early to mid 19th century was the whaling capital of the world with hundreds of ships home ported here which made trips throughout the world for 3 years or more in search of whales. So many artifacts are here exhibited in a well organized manner.
The adjacent Seaman's Bethel is inspiring. in early January a Moby Dick book reading Marathon is held with readers throughout the world. .

Visited January 2014
Thank yankeeaw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Marion, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
71 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
“Trip to the past!”
Reviewed July 2, 2014

We boarded the Charles W. Morgan whaling ship today and toured the ship. Educational and impressive!

Visited July 2014
Thank sandmheath
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oak Creek, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
39 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“skip the walking tour”
Reviewed May 1, 2014

I really enjoyed the visitors center, the volunteers there were more than helpful the film and center full of history about the area. I do suggest to skip the walking tour, especially if you are alone or want to take your kids around. In the middle of the day I wished I had my pepper spray, got a eerie feeling in the neighborhood making me feel a little paranoid. This town has seen its better days, dirty, full of liter and boarded up closed shops, not what the internet projects. One of the historic homes on the tour must have a cat problem as it smelled sooo bad out in the garden as cats had marked their territory, likely soaked into the wood of the structure, what a shame!

Visited April 2014
2 Thank mismal64
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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