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Editor’s Note: During this period of social distancing, Student Group Tour magazine will continue to provide ideas for planning educational travel. Many attractions and destinations are closed at this time; please contact them directly for updated information. 


The world’s oldest active sailing ship, Star of India, can be visited at the Maritime Museum of San Diego — also home to historic sailing ships, steam-powered boats and submarines.

This California attraction offers docent-led group tours and educational programs and experiences for students.

Maritime Museum of San Diego
Educational program
Credit: Maritime Museum of San Diego

“Rather than just looking at artifacts under glass, students can gain firsthand experience walking the decks of ten historic ships that span 400 years of Pacific maritime history,” said Kelli Mulligan, development director at the museum.

Students will interact with history by using a simple machine to haul up a sail, steering a replica 16th-century galleon with a whipstaff or listening to the stories of a Vietnam veteran while riding on a PCF swift boat.

Some of the museum’s programs include overnight and multi-day activities for groups.

The Days of Oar experience offers rowing lessons — as well as safety and communications skills — over the course of five days. Have a sleepover on one of the Tall Ships, which also includes a rowing lesson, black powder gun or cannon demonstration, and a 45-minute tour around San Diego Bay.

Maritime Museum of San Diego
Mechanics of Seafaring
Credit: Maritime Museum of San Diego

If desiring a shorter visit, the Education Sail program allows students to raise 7,000 square feet of sail and learn about the physics of sailing.

Most experiences incorporate not only history, but also STEM-based lessons.

“After visiting Maritime Museum of San Diego, we hope that students find STEM concepts are more accessible to them after seeing that even the most sophisticated technology evolves from simple beginnings and started with a need to solve a problem or answer a question,” Mulligan said.

In addition to student programs, the museum has a number of exhibits spread throughout its vessels.

For more about Maritime Museum of San Diego call 619-234-9153 or go to sdmaritime.org.

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