SF MARITIME PARK

Learn More About San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park

San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, located on the edge of San Francisco Bay, in the Fisherman's Wharf neighborhood, is a park that can be visited year round. Begin with a trip to the Visitor Center (415-447-5000), located on Jefferson Street at the corner of Hyde Street (map). Park Rangers will help you plan your visit.

Some Outdoor Activities

  • Visit the National Historic Landmark ships at Hyde Street
  • Walk to the end of Hyde Street Pier for a spectacular view of San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge
  • Join a ranger or docent on a walking tour of Hyde Street Pier
  • Stop by the Small Boat Shop on Hyde Street Pier and talk to the boat builders
  • Check the activity board near the ticket booth on Hyde Street Pier for scheduled programs or call the visitor center, 415-447-5000
  • Join a ranger-led tour of the ships
  • Join in on a sail raise aboard the 1886 sailing ship Balclutha
  • Learn what a capstan is and how to use it
  • Get up early on a Sunday morning for a guided bird walk around the Aquatic Park National Landmark District
  • Take a ranger-led sail along the San Francisco aboard the 1891 scow schooner Alma
  • Have a picnic on the lawn overlooking the Lagoon
  • Walk out on the 1400-foot Municipal Pier – it’s a trail that leads right over San Francisco Bay
  • Take a self-guided walking tour • On some Saturdays, meet the park’s costumed Living History Players
  • Pick up a free Junior Ranger Program activity booklet, do the activities, and earn a badge
  • Dig in the sand at Aquatic park beach

Some Indoor Activities

  • If it’s the first Saturday of the month, experience one of the West Coast’s premier traditional music events -- a lively sea chantey program aboard one of the historic vessels
  • If it’s the first Sunday of the month, spend a cozy afternoon in the J. Porter Shaw Maritime Library
  • See the Visitor Center’s many exhibits
  • Check the activity board for programs taking place inside the ships, Library, or Visitor Center (like Lighthouses of San Francisco Bay, Surviving Cape Horners, and Crafts for Kids)
  • Below decks aboard Balclutha, experience the immersive environment exhibit Cargo Is King, and watch short films about the ship’s varied careers
  • Take a guided tour inside the recently-refurbished Aquatic Park Bathhouse Building

National Historic Landmarks/Park Sites

1886 square-rigged ship Balclutha

  • Balclutha is a three-masted, steel-hulled, square-rigged ship built to carry a variety of cargo all over the world
  • Launched in 1886 by the Charles Connell and Company shipyard near Glasgow, Scotland, the ship carried goods around Cape Horn (tip of South America) 17 times
  • It took a crew of about 26 men to handle the ship at sea with her complex rigging and 25 sails

1895 schooner C A Thayer

  • The CA Thayer is a wooden-hulled, three-masted schooner, designed for carrying lumber
  • She was built in 1895 in Northern California at Hans D. Bendixsen’s shipyard in Fairhaven, CA
  • The original hull was made of dense, old-growth Douglas fir carefully chosen for shipbuilding
  • She sailed with a small crew consisting of four seamen, two mates, a cook, and the captain

1890 steam paddlewheel ferryboat Eureka

  • Eureka is a wooden-hulled, side-wheel paddle steamboat
  • From the passenger deck up, she is nearly identical fore and aft. Her "double-end" design made disembarking quicker and easier
  • Eureka's large, "walking beam" steam engine remains intact. • Eureka operated on San Francisco Bay, from San Francisco to Sausalito

1890 (circa) San Francisco Bay Ark

  • The Ark, also known as the Lewis Ark, is a wooden houseboat, 44 feet long, 25 feet wide, with a rounded, barge-like bottom and a two-foot draft
  • The Ark was one of several dozen boats moored out as summer hideaways for San Francisco families in Belvedere Lagoon, near Tiburon
  • The interior is paneled with a dark wood. In the front room, or parlor, is a brick and iron fireplace. Sliding doors lead to two bedrooms with built-in beds. A narrow hallway leads to the rear of the ark

1891 scow schooner Alma

  • Alma is a wooden-hulled scow schooner built in 1891 to carry bulk cargo
  • The flat-bottomed hull was designed to navigate the shallow waters of the Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta and to rest on the bottom at low tide
  • With few bridges and connecting roads, scow schooners delivered goods all over the Bay and Delta much as trucks do today
  • By 1880 there were 250 sailing scows on San Francisco Bay

1907 steam tugboat Hercules

  • Hercules is a steam powered tug built for ocean towing
  • The 151-foot ship, of riveted steel construction, still contains her original triple expansion steam engine • Built on the East Coast in 1907, she towed her sister ship from Camden, New Jersey around South America to San Francisco
  • Hercules also towed sailing ships, disabled vessels, barges, log rafts, a caisson (a steel structure used for closing the entrance to locks) for a dry dock at Pearl Harbor, and a caisson to help build a Panama Canal lock

1914 paddlewheel tugboat Eppleton Hall

  • The Eppleton Hall was built in 1914 in an English Shipyard
  • She is a steam-powered side-wheeler (a paddle wheel on each side of the ship)
  • Her two large side lever engines, also called grasshopper engines, operated the paddle wheels independently
  • She towed coal barges (colliers) on the River Wear

Small Craft Collection

  • The park's collection of more than 100 traditional and significant small craft is a fine introduction to boatbuilding and the maritime trades. • Although the collection rotates on- and off-display, on a typical visit you might see: a Whaleboat, a Felucca, a San Francisco Bay Junk replica, a Bear boat, and a Pelican tied up at the pier

J. Porter Shaw Maritime Library

  • The Library is the research portal into the Park's collections--reference librarians are available by appointment, phone, email or fax to assist you with your research in the Park's collections--with books, photographs, or even the objects cared for by the departments within the Cultural Resources Division

Aquatic Park National Historic Landmark District

  • This historic designed landscape, which covers approximately four acres, was a collaborative project between the Federal Works Progress Administration and the City of San Francisco Department of Public Works during the late 1930s
  • Major features include buildings designed in the streamline moderne style, Municipal Pier, the lagoon, and open grassy areas
  • The murals and sculpture inside the Bathhouse (executed by Hilaire Hiler, Sargent Johnson, Beniamino Bufano, Richard Aker and Charles Nunemaker), are outstanding examples of federally-funded, 1930s art