Maritime Gloucester is hands-down the best place to show kids what Gloucester is all about: four centuries of fishing. You can spend hours here, enjoying the vibrant hands-on and interactive exhibits, indoors and out. Your kids can handle oilskins and fog horns, sail maker’s tools and handmade nets. They can pick up all kinds of sea critters in the touch tanks, from sea stars and periwinkles to whelks and lobsters.
Out on the pier stands a giant lobster trap, so big that kids can walk inside it and pretend to be a lobster, and figure out how it works. Inside the Dory Shop, they can watch a real boat builder at work on sailing and rowing dories. The Diving Locker holds all sorts of scuba gear, including a 1949 rig. Take a sail on a real schooner, the Ardelle, a 55-foot traditional pinky schooner built in Essex by a fourth-generation boat builder.
Daily drop-in summer programs start in June, such as Catch of the Day, Creature of the Week and Plankton Safari.
Maritime Gloucester is located at 23 Harbor Loop in Gloucester. 978-281-0470. maritimegloucester.org
Written by Patricia Mandell