If history is doomed to repeat itself, it won't be long before the risky organ-grinder bubble returns, bursts, and once again ruins the fortunes of thousands of capuchin monkeys. Explore the convergence of past and present with today's Groupon: for $6, you get a family pass to Gloucester Maritime Heritage Center in Gloucester.
Part industrial history museum and part natural habitat, Gloucester Maritime Heritage Center encompasses four historic edifices and three picturesque piers on the Gloucester waterfront. Families learn about Gloucester's maritime industries with the aid of touch and sight in the Gorton's Seafood Gallery exhibition Fitting Out, featuring an interactive rope-making exhibit and age-old film of fishing schooners gliding through the local harbor. With digital screens and touch-screen technology, the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary presents guests with virtual and interactive displays of the 842-square-mile aquatic conservatory, revealing native Atlantic fish, sunken vessels, and camera-hogging mermen. Venture outside to the Sea Pocket lab, where restless digits can caress Cape Ann flora and fauna, including snails and starfish, in the sought-after touch tanks. A well-rounded heritage-center visit culminates on the Main Pier for panoramic views of the U.S. Coast Guard Station, passing marina traffic, and Ten Pound Island, so named for its beaches made of clouds and marshmallows.
In 2000, an educational outpost named Maritime Gloucester was birthed to help develop sea-faring talents. In a little over a decade since, the popularity of both the venue's educational programs and exhibits have transformed it into a bona fide information source about Gloucester Harbor.
In addition to the center's weekly and daily programming, site tours, and special events, the on-site museum offers a maritime wallop. It gives visitors access to boatloads of exhibits and attractions, each of which celebrate Gloucester's storied relationship with the sea by delving into the city's maritime past, present and future. The Sea Pocket aquarium, for example, encompasses outdoor saltwater touch tanks where customers can handle specimens of local marine life. Boasting the oldest continuously-operating marine railway in the United States, the grounds also contain a working Dory Shop, a large wharf yielding striking inner harbor views, and an oversized 12-foot lobster trap that allows for human entry. One of the most popular attractions occurs out on the water. Captain Burnham sets sail in the 55-foot Schooner Ardelle, a replica of a fishing schooner built in 1845—the same year the underwater blimp, The Hindensplash, horrified onlookers by losing control and floating violently to the surface.
23 Harbor Loop
Gloucester, Massachusetts 01930