Maritime Science, CA History & US History Programs

Innovative dockside and at-sea programs are offered aboard the Pilgrim and Spirit of Dana Point. Our living history programs, beyond teaching history, allow students to become sailors in Revolutionary War America, hide gatherers of R.H. Dana’s Two Years Before the Mast, and Argonauts traveling to the California Gold Rush to make their fortunes. Programs at-sea include Catalina sailing adventures and hands-on day-sails aboard the Spirit of Dana Point.

Maritime Field Trip 45 Minutes

Private Pilgrim Tour
All Ages

Step back in time and explore the journey around Cape Horn as described by Richard Henry Dana in Two Years Before the Mast.

What you’ll see: View the galley, stern, and bow of the ship before heading below decks to the main hold, where the ship’s cargo would have been stored. Explore the ship in detail while learning about the shipboard life of sailors of the past.

Outdoor Education Field Trip 2 days

“By the Great Horn Spoon”
Grade 4

In this exciting program, students travel from the “Eastern Seaboard” to the “Gold Fields” of California to seek their fortune. Students must band together to fulfill their dreams as they re-live the Gold Rush on this educational journey! This overnight adventure takes students on a “voyage around the Horn” sailing on our historic tallship, the Spirit of Dana Point. The students then travel to our mining camp at the Lazy W Ranch to barter for supplies and pan for gold in a mountain stream.

Maritime Field Trip 5 hours

‘Round the Horn
Grades 4-5

Students recreate the challenging world of a merchant sailor in the 1830s as they embark on a dynamic voyage “around Cape Horn” to early California. Students work together to gather cattle hides, raise sails, and load cargo as they strive to fulfill their contract with the ship’s Captain.

Maritime Field Trip 18 hours

Before the Mast Overnight
Grades 4-5

Travel back in time in this award winning program to the seafaring world of Richard Henry Dana Jr.’s Two Years Before the Mast. Students sign aboard as greenhands for a two year “voyage” from Boston to Alta California in the 1830s. While immersed in early California history and working with a variety of dynamic historical characters, students gain skills in cooperative learning, teamwork, and communication as they hoist cargo, row long-boats, raise sails, stand night watch, swab the decks, and sing chanteys.

Maritime Field Trip 3-5 days

Catalina Odyssey: A Voyage of Discovery
Grades 4-adult

Embark on an exciting voyage to Catalina Island. On this dynamic sailing adventure, students are trained to work as crew of a 100-ton schooner Spirit of Dana Point. They explore Catalina and surrounding waters while they snorkel, hike, and live the life of a tallship sailor. This program is adaptable to fit curriculum needs in the fields of ecology, water quality, oceanography, biology, and history.

Maritime Field Trip 5 hours

Gold Digger’s Express!
Grades 4-5

Students embark on an exciting adventure reenacting the voyage of those who risked it all for the gold fields in 1849. Through the use of role-play, students explore the events of the great California Gold Rush and interact with characters who offer different historical perspectives. At the end of their voyage, students must decide their own destiny by either electing to stay aboard with the Captain or jump ship and seek potential riches in the gold fields. Activities include moving cargo, sail handling, and panning for gold.

Maritime Field Trip 2 hours

Helm’s Alee! Extension
Grades 4-5

Expand your dockside living-history program by casting off and heading out to sea aboard the tallship Spirit of Dana Point. This non-role playing sailing adventure is the perfect extension to your dockside day or overnight experience with curriculum specifically designed to complement the shore-side programs. Activities include sail handling, helmsmanship, and a firing of the ship’s cannon.

Maritime Field Trip 3 hours

It’s a Sailor’s Life
Grades 4-5

Take an imaginary voyage aboard a tallship in the 1830s. During this fun and educational introduction to early California history and the world of a merchant sailor, students explore a tallship, work together to hoist a cargo barrel, and learn to raise sail.

Maritime Field Trip 1 hour

Pilgrim Tour
Grades Pre-K - adult

This walking tour explains the mechanics of the vessel and the voyage around Cape Horn as described by Richard Henry Dana in Two Years Before the Mast. Explore the ship in detail while learning about the shipboard life of sailors of the past.

Maritime Field Trip 3.5 hours

Revenue Cutter Sailing Program
Grades 4-5

Smugglers, pirates, and French privateers threaten our country’s new freedom! Students explore the critical era after the American Revolution as they serve as members of the Revenue Cutter Service aboard the schooner Spirit of Dana Point. During the voyage, historical characters offer a variety of American Revolution perspectives while introducing students to sail handling, helmsmanship, naval strategy, and navigation.

Maritime Field Trip 18 hours

Revolutionary Voyage
Grade 5

Participating as a new “greenhand” sailor transporting much needed supplies to General George Washington’s army in 1777, students will appreciate the bravery and spirit of those who risked their lives, facing countless dangers as they pursued the American ideals of free trade. Working together, learning how to defend and maintain the ship, handle sails, navigate, provide provisions and medical care under the looming threat of British attack, students will reflect on the political, social, and economic ideas and interests that affected the colonists during the Revolutionary War.