Field Trip Guide for San Francisco Maritime
Table of Contents
Welcome to San Francisco Maritime NHP
Welcome to San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park
Thank you for choosing San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park for your field trip! By touring the ships at Hyde Street Pier, your class will have an opportunity to experience first-hand what life was like during the Age of Sail and the Age of Steam, and to connect with our rich Pacific maritime heritage.
Field Trip Reservations
Park ranger-led tours are scheduled seven days a week in the mornings at 9:45am and 11:00am. Self-guided (teacher-led) tours are scheduled in the afternoons, beginning at 12:30pm. Please email or call to make a reservation at least two weeks before you would like to visit. We begin taking reservations for the school year the day after Labor Day. Calling or emailing earlier in the school year makes it more likely that you will get your first-choice date. You will be sent a confirmation letter after you make a reservation for a tour.
To make a reservation for your group’s trip to Hyde Street Pier, call 415-561-6662 extension 33, or send an email. We look forward to your visit!
On the day of your visit to Hyde Street Pier:
Teacher Role and Responsibilities:
Lunch and Restroom Facilities:
Appropriate Dress and Footwear:
A Universal Access Guide to the park is available upon request.
The Maritime Museum, located in the Aquatic Park Bathhouse building, is open from 10am to 4pm every day.
Periodically ships are closed or leave Hyde Street Pier for repair. For the latest information, please call the Visitor Center Information Desk, 415-447-5000.
Historic Ships at Hyde Street Pier
You may visit these sailing ships:
You may visit these steam ships:
At the Small Craft Department on Hyde Street Pier you can see employees and volunteers restoring historic boats and view a collection of craft alongside the pier.
The Visitor Center is located across the street from Hyde Street Pier where stories are told of early California immigrants and the hazards they encountered on the Pacific Coast. A first-order Fresnel lighthouse lens and a wrecked fishing boat are highlights.
The 1939 Works Progress Administration’s Aquatic Park Bathhouse became a maritime museum in 1951. It is open from 10am to 4pm everyday.
The Aquatic Park Historic Landmark District provides a pleasant area of lawns and beach for eating lunch and playing.
At Lower Fort Mason, located in Building E, is the Maritime Library which has extensive research materials and a collection of over 250,000 images. Call 415-561-7030 Tuesday through Friday for an appointment.
Fee-based educational programs:
Activity 1: Maritime Vocabulary
Directions: Learn the language of the sea. Study the vocabulary words and see how many nautical terms you can master before you arrive. All ages should be familiar with the "Essential Words" below.
Glossary of Nautical Terms
Bow The forward end of a ship or boat.
Activity 2: Class Discussion "What do ships do?"
Directions: Working in small groups or as a whole, ask your students the following question: "What are some of the different jobs ships and boats do?" As you brainstorm possibilities your list might include jobs like; "carry cargo around the globe, bring gold seekers to California, go fishing, tow barges and rafts, dredge the bay, and sail for fun." Your list might also include types of ships like: "oil tankers, container ships, sailing ships, ferries, tugboats, aircraft carriers, fishing boats." At the end of the discussion prepare your students for the types of ships your students will see at Hyde Street Pier and write down a question or two your students would like to ask the park ranger about each of the ships.
Activity 3: Sea Journal or Diary of the 1800s
Directions: Two kinds of writings are suggested here. (1) Write and/or illustrate a journal as a gold seeker in 1849 travelling from Boston or New York Harbor around Cape Horn to San Francisco. (2) Write a diary and/or poems and/or draw pictures from the perspective of a sailor, the captain, the cook, or one of the mates, describing their voyage on Balclutha in 1886. The students should choose a port of departure and a destination and then describe what jobs he does, what he eats, when and where he sleeps, who works with him, what he does for leisure, and what cargo the ship is carrying.
Activity 1: The Crew of Balclutha
Directions: Refer to Lesson Eight in the California and the Sea curriculum. This activity is designed for one class of approximately 30 students. At school, the teacher writes a job title on each student's nametag in the appropriate color for their group. On Balclutha, the students divide into three groups and spend about ten minutes at each of the three areas: fo'c's'le, galley, and captain's quarters. They record the information gathered to find out what life was like in each area. Then the students convene in the shelter deck to discuss their findings. As a post-visit activity in class, students can either create a class project from their experiences, or each write or illustrate their own project. Extension Question: Do you think it is important to save old ships like the Balclutha? Why? Students can brainstorm this answer in class during the post-visit activity.
Activity 2: Voyage through the Visitor Center
Stop A: Fresnel lens and lighthouse life. Describe either what lighthouses do or family life at a lighthouse. What parts of living on the Farallon Islands would you like or not like?
Stop B: Wreck of fishing boat Little Rose. Name three to five things that cause ships and boats to wreck. Name some ways that wrecks can be avoided.Stop C: Choose three ship models. What were their jobs, and what is one thing about each of them that was fun to find out? If you wish, draw a picture of one or two of the models.
Stop D: The Sailor's Den is a reference library open to the public. Find three or more books that you think you would enjoy reading and write down their titles. Answer why you choose each book and why you think you would enjoy reading it.
Activity 3: Student Activity Booklet
Directions: Print enough copies for your students and remember to bring pencils. Instruct students to work in small groups with their chaperones and fill out their own booklets while touring Hyde Street Pier.
Activity 1: Thank-You Letter
Directions: Write a thank you letter to the park ranger who led your tour of Hyde Street Pier. Tell him or her what you learned and what you enjoyed the most during your visit. The park rangers would love hearing from you!
Activity 2: Maritime Paintings
Directions: Paint pictures of ships and the sea using watercolors. For example, a very beautiful effect can be produced by painting a sunset on a sheet of white paper (covering the entire space), then cutting out silhouettes of ships, waves, birds, and islands in black construction paper and gluing them onto the sunset.
Directions: It's best to gather information as a class from the visit to Hyde Street Pier so students have ideas for their journals.Journal of a gold seeker.....
Pretend the year is 1849 and you have heard all about the gold that could be found in California. You have booked passage on a Gold Rush ship bound for San Francisco and are on your way. What would it be like to spend from five to eight months at sea sailing around Cape Horn and up the West Coast? What would you take with you? (You cannot take anything that wasn't yet invented!) Think about the many days ahead of you. What would you do everyday to fill up your time? What would you eat? Who would be your friends? Would you make friends with the captain? The cook? Why?Diary of a Sailor.....
Pretend you are a sailor aboard the Balclutha sailing from Europe
Did You Know?
San Francisco Maritime is the only NPS site that has a cable car turnaround adjacent to the park. Riders disembark and workers push the cars around on the track to position them for the next journey back up steep Hyde Street.