Gloucester’s Maritime Heritage Center Opens May 27

Posted by Ann, Ziptivity’s North Shore Community Ambassador

There’s a gem of an area in downtown Gloucester known as Harbor Loop.  This “working waterfront” area of Gloucester, centered by the historic Fritz Hugh Lane House, is home to the Schooner Adventure, Captain Bill and Sons Whale Watch, the newly renovated Harbor Loop Gift Shop, the ALWAYS-fun Capt. Carlo’s Restaurant, The Whale Center of New England, and the Gloucester Maritime Heritage Center.   

Today’s post will feature the Maritime Heritage Center.  This household is THRILLED that they will be opening for the season on May 27 – the boys have been counting down the days.  The center includes many interactive exhibits, including the new 2nd story gallery overlooking Gloucester Harbor which currently features Gorton’s Seafoods and talks about the shoreside industries that supported the local fishing fleet at the dawn of the 20th century.

The Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary Exhibit offers a virtual window into the 842-square-mile stretch of open ocean and seafloor which includes more than one hundred shipwrecks. The exhibit uses state-of-the-art technology, including video monitors, touch screen computers, and an illuminated 3-D model, to explore the different aspects of the sanctuary with an emphasis on the creatures that live there and the shipwrecks that lie on the seafloor.

Of course the highlight for us is always the outdoor aquarium/marine exhibit where we get to see and touch all the local creatures that populate Cape Ann coastal habitats. There are enclosed tanks (thank you), a clam flat, and several touch tanks where visitors can handle sea creatures.  The gift shop may be our next favorite place.  They do a fantastic job selecting high quality marine-themed items, from marine science kits to books to plush – something for everyone.

The Maritime Heritage Center is actively involved in our local schools and has a keen interest in educating children about the wonders of our shorelines.  They offer an “amazing” (direct quote from mom-friend) summer program called, Coastal Explorers, where children ages 8-12 will get a chance to learn about marine science through exciting hands on lessons. They also host two weekly programs:  Open Lab and Creature of the Week, held on Thursdays in July and August.  

Finally, here are a couple Special Events at the Maritime Heritage Center which you should mark in your calendars:

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