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A Day at Mystic Seaport Connecticut


Tour Ship Joseph Conrad at the Mystic Seaport CT on the Mystic River in Mystic Connecticut.
Ship Joseph Conrad

ALL ABOUT MYSTIC SEAPORT

Be transported back in time to a 19th century seafaring village at Mystic Seaport Connecticut. Explore historic ships, see boat builders at work, and watch blacksmiths hone their craft. A day strolling the lanes of this open-air, living history museum is one of our favorite things to do in Mystic CT.


Explore Preservation Shipyard on a day at Mystic Seaport Connecticut; New England Travel
Preservation Shipyard

The 19-acre Mystic Seaport Museum is modeled after a coastal New England village. Onsite there is a ship yard, lighthouse, wharves, and town center.  Across the grounds, history comes alive through reenactments and demonstrations. Visitors learn about whaling, the sea, and the stars on a campus full of exhibition halls, a planetarium, and children’s activity center.


Walk the Deck of a Wooden Ship | Things to do at Mystic Seaport, Mystic CT, New England
Walk the Deck of a Wooden Ship

Founded in 1929 with a mission to preserve and interpret America’s maritime experience, Mystic Seaport is now the largest museum of its kind in the USA. We have visited the museum as a couple, and with kids. We can attest it’s a blast both ways. Use our Mystic Seaport guide to organize your trip.


Thomas Oyster Company on the Mystic River | Mystic Seaport Guide, New England Travel
Thomas Oyster Company

A Day at Mystic Seaport At A Glance | Things to Do in Mystic Connecticut | Mystic Seaport Guide

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North Boat Area at the Mystic Seaport Museum | Things to do in Mystic Connecticut | New England, USA
North Boat Area

WHERE IS MYSTIC SEAPORT (Address: 75 Greenmanville Avenue, Mystic CT 06355)

The Mystic Seaport Museum is located on the banks of the Mystic River in Mystic Connecticut. The name “Mystic” was derived from the Native American word “missituc” meaning “great tidal river.” Mystic CT is about 10 miles east of New London, CT.

 

Traveling north or south, the Mystic Seaport Museum is easily accessed from I-95 (it is about 1-mile from the Interstate). Mystic CT is also serviced by Amtrak train and nearby ferry.


Mystic Seaport Village at the Mystic Seaport Museum on the Mystic River | New England Travel
Mystic Seaport Village

MYSTIC SEAPORT MUSEUM HOURS

Opening hours at Mystic Seaport are seasonal. The museum generally opens at 10am each day. In the summer, the grounds are usually open until 6pm; with ships and exhibits closing at 5pm. In the winter, closing times are usually one hour earlier.


Boat Building at Mystic Seaport. Things to do at Mystic Seaport; Connecticut Travel
Boat Building at Mystic Seaport

MYSTIC SEAPORT TICKETS

Ticket prices vary seasonably at Mystic Seaport. Prices also vary according to age. Here is a sampling of admission prices in 2023:

General Admission 18-64: Summer $29; Winter $19

General Admission Children 4-12: Summer $19; Winter $16

Children 3 and younger are free

 

Exhibit Buildings on the Mystic River at the Mystic Seaport in Mystic CT, New England, USA
Exhibit Buildings on the Mystic River

HOW LONG TO SPEND AT MYSTIC SEAPORT

If touring Mystic Seaport as a couple, plan to spend 4 hours at the museum. If you have children in tow, schedule a 6-hour visit. Add in extra time if you plan to take in a planetarium show or if you decide to take a bout ride along the Mystic River.


Mystic Seaport South Entrance | Things to do in Mystic Connecticut; New England Travel
Mystic Seaport South Entrance

MYSTIC SEAPORT MUSEUM PARKING

Parking is free for museum visitors. There are two parking lots; North and South. Both are located across the street from museum entrances. The south lot is closest to the main entrance. Half of the South Parking Lot is reserved for in-town paid parking. Look for the signs that indicate museum-attendance parking.  

 

Tug Boat at South Entrance | Mystic Seaport Tickets at Mystic Seaport Connecticut
Tug Boat at South Entance

MYSTIC SEAPORT MUSEUM ACCESSIBILITY

Museum Buildings: About 1/3 of museum buildings are wheelchair accessible.

Ships and Other Exhibits: Many ships and exhibits may not be accessible to the mobility impaired. Vessels are boarded via wooden gangways. Many exhibits include stairs and/or climbing.

Roads and Wharves: Surfaces are gravel, cobblestone, or wood. There are many uneven surfaces.

Foodservice and Restrooms: All are handicap accessible.

Parking: Handicap accessible spaces are located in the North and South parking lots.

Wheelchairs: Are available for loan at the Visitor Center on a first come first serve basis.

Adaptive Strollers: Are allowed in accessible buildings and spaces.

Service Animals: Are allowed on the grounds, in exhibits, and on vessels.

Tickets: Special needs guests and one additional adult are eligible for a discount of 50% upon admission.


Cape House on the Mystic River at Mystic Seaport CT. Things to do in Mystic Connecticut, New England.
Cape House on the Mystic River

FOOD & DRINK

Food and drinks (including alcoholic) are available for purchase inside the museum grounds. There are inside and outside dining venues. No food or drink is allowed inside any museum buildings, exhibits, or vessels. Dining and snack options include: Café and Bake Shop, Variety Store, Schaefer’s Spouter Tavern, the Galley Restaurant, and Latitude 41 Restaurant.

 

Anchor Cafe & Sweets | Mystic Seaport Guide | Things to do in Mystic Connecticut
Anchor Cafe & Sweets

MYSTIC SEAPORT MUSEUM MAP

Mystic Seaport Museum Map : Credit: Mysticseaport.org
Credit: Mysticseaport.org

THINGS TO DO AT MYSTIC SEAPORT

There are many fun things to do a Mystic Seaport. The museum is loosely divided into six different areas. We have organized the day touring the areas in the order we think works best.


Mystic Seaport Village Green | Things to do in Mystic Connecticut; New England Travel
Village Green

PRESERVATION SHIPYARD

Begin your day at Mystic Seaport CT in the Preservation Shipyard. Entering through the South Entrance, the village green will be to your right. In front of you, view the Mystic Seaport ships at docks along the Mystic River. Turn left, and head toward the Preservation Shipyard.


Boat Repair at Preservation Shipyard | Things to do at Mystic Seaport, New England, USA
Boat Repair at Preservation Shipyard

In the shipyard you will view an eclectic collection of water craft. In this area you will see boats of all shapes and sizes being built and repaired. As you wander, look for the shipwrights that use traditional techniques to restore and maintain the museum’s ships and boats.


Shipyard Exhibit Gallery at Mystic Seaport Connecticut; New England Travel
Shipyard Exhibit Gallery

First, stop by the Thames Keel Exhibit to see a 92’ keel from the whaling ship Thames. Then, head to the Main Shop & Shipyard Exhibit Gallery where boats are constructed and repaired. As you wander through the warehouse, ask questions of the workers you come in contact with. Staff are usually happy to speak with you about the tasks they are performing.


Thames Keel Exhibit: Things to do at Mystic Seaport; Connecticut Travel
Thames Keel Exhibit

Do keep track of small children in this area. It is a working shipyard with tools, machinery, and vehicles in use. Before you leave, take a look at the massive Hays and Ros Clark Shiplift.


MYSTIC RIVER EXPLORATION

Leaving the shipyard, walk along the Mystic River. Pass the Steamboat Sabino as you head toward the lighthouse. Along the road, you will encounter a series of buildings reminiscent of what you might find in a New England seaport in the 1800s.


Lighthouse on Mystic River. Read our Mystic Seaport Guide in Mystic CT.
Lighthouse on Mystic River

The buildings are packed with interesting workshops and exhibits. There is an Oyster House, sail and rigging loft, rope shop, boat shed, lifesaving station, and more. Before you leave this area, climb the lighthouse and take a tour of the iron-hulled sailing ship, the Joseph Conrad (1882).


Exploring a Ship's Galley at Mystic Seaport CT, Things to do in Mystic CT
Exploring a Ship's Galley

TIP: Many people are not aware that Mystic Seaport has a sailing center and boat rental office. It also offers boat rides (extra fees) on many rare and historic boats, including the Steamboat Sabino. If the weather is fair, schedule a boat ride for the end of your day.


Rent a Sailboat at the Mystic Seaport Museum in Mystic CT, New England Travel
Rent a Sailboat

MYSTIC SEAPORT VILLAGE 

Next, head toward Mystic Seaport Village. Following the road that runs along the Mystic River, you will begin to pass a series of recreated 19th century maritime businesses.

 

Cooper's Workshop. Things to do at Mystic Seaport, New England, USA
Cooper's Workshop

A sampling of the shops includes a nautical instrument shop, cooperage, working blacksmith shop, a hoop shop, and print shop. Soon you will come to Middle Wharf and Chubbs Wharf. Sandwiched between the wharves is the Charles W. Morgan (1841). The ship, which can be toured above and below deck, is the last wooden whaling ship.

 

Mystic Seaport Village on the Mystic Seaport. Things to do in Mystic CT
Seaport Village on the River

Most of the buildings in this area were built in the 1800s and transported to the museum from locations around New England. The shops in this area are staffed by talented historians and craftsmen who give demonstrations, reenact daily life, and answer questions.


Stillman Building Whale Exhibits at Mystic Seaport CT: Things to do in Mystic Connecticut
Stillman Building Whale Exhibits

MCGRAW GALLERY QUAD

Continuing along the Mystic River, you will enter the McGraw Gallery Quad. In this area, a series of indoor galleries tell the story of life at sea in the 1800s. Two of my favorite buildings are the Wendell Gallery with its artful display of figureheads and ship carvings; and the Stillman Building that focuses on artifacts of whales and whaling.


Figureheads in Wendell Gallery | Mystic Seaport Museum | Things to do in Mystic CT
Figureheads in Wendell Gallery

STAR CENTRAL

Next door to the Gallery Quad is the Treworgy Planetarium which offers shows throughout the day. In front of the Planetarium is a nautical-themed playground. Also, in this area is the Funk Childrin’s Museum (ages 7 or under) and Home Port (ages 8-12) where there are games and arts-and-crafts for young people to enjoy. 


Children's Playground : Mystic Seaport Guide in New England, USA
Children's Playground

KIDS ACTIVITY ZONE

From Star Central you will be heading onto the village green area (and looping back toward the South Entrance). There are lots of restaurants and gift shops in this area. If you have little ones, save time to visit the Discovery Barn to learn about the science behind how ships work. Also, in this area is the Toy Boat Workshop.


Discovery Barn at Mystic Seaport Connecticut | Things to do in Mystic CT
Discovery Barn

Hope you have a great outing from stem to stern, Laura and Randy

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South Boat Area at Mystic Seaport | Things to do in Mystic CT, New England Travel
South Boat Area at Mystic Seaport

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