Worth the Trip: Mystic Seaport Museum

Kids playing on a boatLooking for a day trip idea? With an old whaling boat, a small children’s museum, outdoor play space and more, Mystic Seaport Museum has the perfect combination of adult and child-friendly exhibits. We spent about four hours at the museum but definitely didn’t get a chance to see it all.

We started in one of the exhibit halls and the kids received a scavenger hunt. As we looked at the paintings and artwork, the kids looked for a palm tree, a spouting whale, a ship wreck and more. The kid-focused activity kept them engaged throughout the hall.

We left the first exhibit hall, and once outside, I felt surprised at the expansiveness of the property. Boasting 19 acres, the museum’s numerous halls feature exhibits geared toward adults with some buildings specifically designed with children in mind. For example: a discovery barn (open seasonally), a children’s museum and an outdoor play space with small wooden boats.

The kids had fun climbing outside on the wooden boats and role playing ship captain and crew. We also watched another family play hide and go seek in this space. The indoor children’s museum has a boat with life jackets, fishing supplies, a map to swab the deck etc. There is an old fashioned kitchen, a reading area, some puzzles and more. The girls had fun exploring and playing on the bunks in the children’s museum area as they had seen the bunks on the old whaling ship earlier in the day. (Masks are required for indoor child-specific spaces like the children’s museum).

However, both girls had the most fun exploring the ships that were docked in the harbor. They really enjoyed the old whaling boat and discovering what was below deck. They walked through this featured boat three times! We also visited the Fireboat and were treated to an amazing water demonstration in honor of 9/11. We did not get a chance to take a cruise ship out in the harbor but that is on our to do list on the next visit for sure!

The village in the center of Mystic Seaport Museum will captivate visitors who enjoy Old Sturbridge Village. We visited several stores including a demonstration at the barrel making shop, but we could have spent more time in the different shops.


We ate lunch at the Galley Hatch, a counter service restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating. Connected to the gift shop sits a cafe, or visitors can find a full sit down restaurant just outside the museum. The food at Galley Hatch was made to order and better than I expected for a museum counter service experience. The girls split a chicken tender meal, which they didn’t finish due to generous portions.

  • Make sure to ask staff for directions and help finding what you are looking for! All the staff there were incredibly friendly, knowledgeable and willing to help. The map does not have labels on individual buildings.
  • Mystic Seaport Museum was a 90 minute drive from our home in Central MA. I think next time we will get a hotel in Mystic and spend a day at the Mystic Aquarium and a day at the Mystic Seaport Museum.
  • There is a Mystic Pass card for those looking to do both Mystic Aquarium & Mystic Seaport Museum and explore downtown.
  • The North Entrance seems to be the main entrance with the gift shop and cafe at the front of the property. We entered through the South Entrance. We had to exit the museum to get to the gift shop and then go back inside to finish touring.

Mystic Seaport Museum
75 Greenmanville Ave
Mystic, CT 06355

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