Two Christmas Events Offered On December 14 At San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park

Visitors in the Captain's cabin aboard the Balclutha during last year's event. NPS photo.

San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park will offer a pair of special events with a Christmas theme on Saturday, December 14, 2013. Afternoon activities will include live music, refreshments, ornament-making, and a special visit from Santa Claus. During the evening, you can join costumed Living History players as they turn the clock back to Christmas in the year 1901.

"Christmas At Sea 2013" will be held aboard the historic sailing ship Balclutha, berthed at Hyde Street Pier. The Dogwatch Nautical Band starts the festivities at 3:00 p.m., performing traditional sea chanteys with a holiday twist. Kids of all ages will enjoy the popular ornament-making activities and refreshments from 3:00-4:45 p.m.

As the band concludes its performance, a park ranger will read a popular holiday story, and another highlight of the celebration is the arrival of the jolly fellow in the red coat. Santa arrives by boat at 4:20 p.m., and will listen to children’s wishes until the program ends at 4:45. The usual park admission applies for this event: Adults, $5, includes entry to vessels Eureka, Hercules, and CA Thayer. Ages 15 and under are free (with adult supervision).

Holiday Shipboard History at Free Evening Event

A free event that evening offers a fun way to combine a little maritime history with a holiday activity. The park's annual "Old Time Maritime Christmas" runs from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Hyde Street Pier.

The park staff invites you to "Turn the clock back to Christmas in the year 1901, where you will meet and talk with captains, wives, and crews aboard the historic vessels at Hyde Street Pier. With the lights of San Francisco twinkling in the background, the historic ships and costumed players offer a unique holiday experience."

Lamplit guided tours leave every 20 minutes (beginning at 6:00 p.m.) from the entrance to Hyde Street Pier, with the final tour beginning at 7:40 p.m. During the tours, "the park's costumed Living History players will take you back to a bygone era, where you will meet and talk with the Captain and crew of the Balclutha, passengers on the Eureka ferryboat in their holiday best, and the cream of San Francisco society aboard the Ark houseboat. It all happens during a lamplit tour of the vessels decorated for Christmas 1901."

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The Living History Players, shown here in the fos'c'le on the Balclutha, will help visitors experience a shipboard Christmas circa 1901. NPS photo.

This program is free, but reservations are required. For information and reservations, phone 415-447-5000 during park operating hours.

Daily Balclutha Tours Also Available

If those special events don't fit your schedule or interests, a guided tour of the historic ship Balclutha will provide a chance to "discover the hardships and rewards of the sailors who fought for survival during the treacherous Cape Horn passage."

The tours, "Adventures at Sea: Life Aboard a 19th Century Sailing Ship," are conducted from 2:15 to 3:00 p.m. through December 20.

San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park is located at the west end of Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco. The park includes a magnificent fleet of historic ships, visitor center, Maritime Museum, and library. You'll find details about planning a visit to the park, including directions, hours of operations and information about things to do on the park website.