Our second day in San Diego started with a visit to the Maritime Museum. About five years ago the museum decided to built a replica of the ship "San Salvador" which Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo sailed and discovered for San Diego Bay, the first European to do so. This was in 1542 and Juan was also the first European to see and visit the Channel Islands.
Volunteers made up much of the work force that built the ship at Spanish Landing across the bay from the museum. This Writer had followed the progress of the ship's construction and when the ship was finally launched late last year it was moved to the Museum which includes several ships including two submarines.
This is the best Maritime Museum in the U.S. and it is truly an outstanding experience for anyone interested in maritime history. Here is the Star of India, the world's oldest active sailing ship, and now joining her is San Salvador. We were thrilled boarding San Salvador and used our imagination to consider what it must have been like for Cabrillo as he sailed into unknown waters to discover a beautiful new country.
If you ever saw the movie "Master and Commander" the ship was HMS Surprise and it too is now on display at the Museum.
Besides the H.M.S. Surprise three other historic vessels are afloat at the Museum: the 1898 Ferryboat 'Berkeley'; the 1863 sailing ship 'Star of India' and the 1904 Steam Yacht, 'Medea'.
The 'Star of India' is a full rigged Bark that made some 21 voyages around the globe. In its long career the ship, one of the earliest iron-hulled ships to be built, was a merchantman with voyages between Britain and India. Later it took emigrants from Britain to New Zealand. Some 400 at a time. Then she hauled cargoes of timber, coal and sugar in the trans-Pacific trade.
Now the 'Star of India' is in the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest vessel in the world still sea worthy and regularly, on a yearly bases, puts out to sea once again.
For hours and information on the Maritime Museum located at 1492 N. Harbor Drive call 619 234-9153, web wwwsdmaritime.org.
From the Harbor we moved to Balboa Park and a visit to the San Diego Natural History Museum. Here was a new exhibition entitled "Ultimate Dinosaurs" featuring dinosaur specimens from the Southern Hemisphere. There was the Eoraptor and we recall the scene in the movie "Jurassic Park" where a huge herd of the creatures were in motion. Then there was Giganotosaura, a bigger, and even more terrifying cousin of T Rex.
The Museum is huge with five floors filled with skeletons and stuffed animals. Another exhibition currently being shown is "Coast to Cactus" and there is a 3D theater. The three films, all in 3D, currently being shown are "Through Africa", "Sea Monsters" and :"Ocean Oasis".
Allow plenty of time in visiting this Museum especially if you plan on seeing any of the movies. The San Diego Natural History Museum is hard to miss in Balboa Park. For hours call 877 946-7797, on the web www. sdnat.org.