San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park offers the sights, sounds, smells and stories of Pacific Coast maritime history at a convenient location near Fisherman’s Wharf. Here are some statistics that tell the story of this remarkable place. (For spatial information, click to the park map.)
Recreational visits in 2010. This is a perennially popular park. While attendance has never topped the 5.2 million visits recorded during the first full year of operation (1989), annual visitation has been around 4 million in each of the last eight years.
Objects in the park's Maritime Museum, which is housed in a historic building in the park's Aquatic Park Historic District. This treasure trove includes practical items from the everyday lives of people making their living at sea, large parts from rescued sailing vessels, fine art, and other tangible links to the maritime past.
Books and periodicals in the park's Maritime Library, which focuses on the maritime history of North America's West Coast dating to 1536. Housed at nearby Fort Mason Center, the extensive holdings (over 1,300 linear feet) also include about 50,000 pieces of ephemera, over 3,000 maps and charts, and other materials such as photos, motion pictures, and oral histories. A huge archives collection emphasizes oceanic and coastal trade, the San Francisco Bay and river systems, marine harvesting, marine business, labor and shore-based support activities. There are, for example, 120,000 vessel and shipyard architectural drawings.
Length of the Balclutha -- aka Star of Alaska or Pacific Queen -- oldest (1886) of the six major historic vessels berthed at the park's Hyde Street Pier. During its storied career the steel-hulled square-rigger called on ports around the world, rounded Cape Horn 17 times, became the last vessel to fly the flag of the Hawaiian Kingdom, was a speedy coastal trader, and even appeared in the classic film Mutiny on the Bounty.
Age of the brick building that houses the park's Visitor Center. Originally constructed in 1908 as a warehouse for the California Fruit Canners Association, the building was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1975.
Traditional and significant small craft exhibited in the park's Small Craft Collections, which provide a fine introduction to boatbuilding and the maritime trades.
Acreage of the park, nearly half of which (22 acres) consists of nonfederal land.
Duration of the park's "Redesigning the Waterfront" walking tour, a self-guided walk that traverses three-quarters of a mile of the waterfront between the Hyde Street Pier and Lower Fort Mason. There is one steep hill and a 73-step staircase along the way.
Clean sandy beach and open water swimming area in a lagoon enclosed by an arc-shaped municipal pier. Situated in the park's Aquatic Park Historic District -- designated a National Historic Landmark in 1987 -- this attractive "Aqua Park" recreational complex also features restrooms, a concessions stand, stadia, two speaker towers, and a Maritime Museum ensconced in an Art Deco building constructed as a public bathhouse in 1936.
What kids under 16 are charged to visit the historic ships. The rest of us pay five bucks (good for seven days) at the ticket booth on the pier.