Located at the west end of San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf, this park includes the fleet of national historic landmark vessels at Hyde Street Pier, a visitor center, a maritime museum, and a library/research facility. Visitors can learn such traditional arts as boat building and woodworking.
The museum is the home to an eclectic collection of historic vessels. There is the 1886 square-rigger Balclutha,* 1895 schooner C.A. Thayer, 1890 steam ferryboat Eureka, 1891 scow schooner Alma, 1907 steam tug Hercules, and the 1914 paddlewheel tug Eppleton Hall. The Park's 100-plus collection of traditional and significant small craft are a fine introduction to boatbuilding and the maritime trades.
A limited number of accessible parking spaces are located at the entrance to Hyde Street Pier. Hyde Street Pier is wheelchair accessible.
Located at the corner of Hyde and Jefferson streets the Visitor Center is open daily, year-round.
A First Order Fresnel lighthouse lens, a magnificent brass structure encasing hundreds of precisely polished prisms, guides visitors through the door. Once inside, they can get directions from the uniformed Rangers staffing an information desk, or simply mosey through the fun and interactive panels and displays.
Inside the ship-shaped, streamline-modern structure, built as a WPA project, mast sections, jutting spars and ships' figureheads are arranged among the colorful fish and gleaming tiles of muralist Hilaire Hiler's expressionist vision of Atlantis. Displays include panels, video, oral history re-creations, models, and interactive exhibits.
The Steamship Room illustrates the technological evolution from wind-to-steam power. The Mermaid, the one-man sailboat that transported a solo adventurer across the Pacific from Japan in 94 days, is displayed on the balcony, along with a statue by San Francisco sculptor Beniamino Bufano. Second floor displays include three photomurals of the early San Francisco waterfront, lithographic stones, scrimshaw, and whaling guns.
*A square-rigged ship is one on which the sails are oriented perpendicular to the ships centerline.