Traveling to the edge of our flat planet in a 15th-century ship is like spending three months trapped on a Tijuana-bound bus driven by a crazy-eyed codger and filled with rotting lemons. Develop new respect for what early seafarers endured with today’s Groupon. For $10, you get six adult admissions (a $24 total value) to The Santa Maria ship and museum, located downtown on the Scioto River in Battelle Riverfront Park.
The Santa Maria ship museum lets you peruse one of history’s most famous ships without hitting up King Ferdinand for some serious coin or sitting through a lengthy “behind the scenes” DVD commentary with James Cameron. The museum's centerpiece is the world’s most authentic museum-quality replica of Christopher Columbus’s flagship and the living conditions of early ship travelers. A wooden “nao,” the Santa Maria boasts a length of 98 feet, a weight of 130 tons with ballast, 2,700 square feet of sails, and a version 1.0 paper-based Google Maps guidance system. The interactive experience illustrates to curious landlubbers how Columbus and his sailors utilized only wind, currents, crude compasses, stars, and the sun to guide their vessels. The museum also offers convenient hours, making it an enjoyable option for entertaining groups, visiting friends, and wayward Vikings.
Besides its obvious merits as a fun family outing, birthday-party setting, or corporate event, romantics can experience firsthand the cinematic formula for romance so beautifully exemplified by The Notebook, Boat Trip, and Jaws: being at sea makes people fall madly in love. Use today’s Groupon to the Santa Maria museum to celebrate an anniversary, re-spark a flame, or just as an inventive date-night alternative to dinner and a movie. And if the date goes especially well, the ship's captain can marry you on the spot.
The Santa Maria
Resting in shallow waters, the faithful wooden re-creation of Columbus’s flagship Santa Maria puts into perspective the lives of sailors as they crossed the Atlantic in cramped quarters, wholly beholden to wind and weather. On board, guides and crewmembers reenact daily life as it must have been for the legendary explorer and his crew, conveniently providing English subtitles for each boisterous Spanish sea shanty. Apart from regular daily tours, themed events such as Talk Like a Pirate Weekend or the Gospel Sail-A-Bration showcase the talents of pirate impersonators and area gospel performers, respectively.