Monday, January 25, 2016

Harbor Tours at the Texas Seaport Museum - Galveston, Texas

Description: The Texas Seaport Museum provides tours of Galveston Harbor aboard the Seagull II.  These hour long tours are an excellent way to see dolphins swimming in the water as well as learn more about the Galveston Harbor.

Location: Tickets are sold in the Texas Seaport Museum located at 2100 Harborside Drive, Galveston, Texas. This on the north side of the island in the downtown area of Galveston. The tours depart from a pier behind the museum.

Cost: A Harbor Tour costs $10 for adults and $8 for children age 6-18.  Children under 6 ride for free.  If you wish, you can add a tour of the Texas Seaport Museum, including a tour of the Tall Ship Elissa, for only $10 more for adults and $7 more for children.  (A ticket to the museum by itself costs $12 for adults and $9 for children so this deal will save you $2 per ticket.)

Operating Seasons and Hours: The ticket office is open daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. The last tickets are sold at 4:00 pm.  Tours depart at 10 am, 11:30 am, 1 pm, 2:30 pm, 4 pm, and 5:15 pm. Reservations are not required for groups smaller than 20, but you might want to call ahead on the day of your tour to make sure there will be space for you.

Helpful Website: http://www.galveston.com/harbortours/

Date of Visit: Thursday, November 6, 2014

This was the second stop of the sixth day of the Texas Coastline Road Trip that my husband and I took our kids on in November of 2014. We'd purchased tickets for the Texas Seaport Museum and had decided to add a harbor tour to our tickets.



At $20 a ticket this was by far the most expensive thing we'd done on this road trip.  But since our four children were all under the age of 6 they could ride for free.  We figured it all evened out. We'd finished touring the museum and the Elissa and now we were ready to go on the 11:30 tour of Galveston Harbor.

We had to wait a few minutes before crew was ready for us to board the boat.  The boat was named Seagull II. It was a large boat that could probably hold 40 people. There was an option to sit on either the main level or go up top. I figured the safest place for our four children would be to stay on the main level. There were two other people on the tour, but other than them it was just us and the two man crew.

We pulled out into the harbor and headed east toward the open waters.  The air was probably 50 degrees. The sky was cloudy and grey, but no one in my family was that cold. The boat captain thought we were crazy to be out there in T-shirts. "Where are you people from?" He asked. When I told him we were originally from Utah he said, "I can spot you guys a mile away. You are crazy to be out here dressed like that in this weather." He was wearing a big jacket, and he kept mentioning that he was freezing. Meanwhile, I didn't even have goosebumps.
The crew talked over the loud speaker and told us funny jokes about the landmarks we passed. We went by the OceanStar Offshore Drilling Rig and Museum.  This has been on our list of places to visit, but it had been closed.
Next the tour took us into a little marina area and showed us some famous boats.  They showed us Katie's Fish Market which catches and supplies all the fish for the HEB stores. One of the workers came out and showed us the freshest catch of the day - a red snapper.
Then the boat picked up speed as we went farther out into more open waters. There was a breeze blowing and the day was the coolest one of our vacation, but it wasn't that cold - at least not to us. The captain was still freezing.
Once we made it out of the channel we were able to stop and watch some dolphins that were playing in the water. You can kind of see the dolphins in this picture. By this point I was holding my son and youngest daughter so I wasn't able to do much with the camera. The captain told us some facts and asked, "Does anyone know what is the largest dolphin?" My husband surprised me with answering right away with "The Killer Whale."  He was correct.  I didn't realize he knew so much about animals.
The tour included sailing by a boat known as the Selma. It was made out of cement, which was a great idea until the builders figured out that repairing holes in cement doesn't really work too well. So it was run aground out here where it has stayed ever since.  Its usually covered with seagulls.
We also sailed past Seawolf Park where the American Undersea Warfare Center is located.  I've never been there, but there are two ships located there that you can tour.  One is a submarine from World War II called the USS Cavalla.  The other is the a World War II era destroyer escort named the USS Stewart.  We had plans to visit another battleship, the USS Texas, later in our road trip or else we might have planned a stop at Seawolf Park.
The crew of our boat promised that my youngest daughter would be asleep by the end of the tour. They said that without fail every baby falls asleep on the tour. She took about 10 minutes longer than they expected, but she eventually succumbed to the rocking of the boat. My son was almost asleep by the time we got done.
When we got back to the dock the tour guides said that this had been the only tour of the day.  It was just too cold to do any more.  We still didn't think it was that cold, but we were looking forward to getting into our car and turning on the heat.

This tour had been so great and we definitely worth the money.  This was one of the highlights of our trip.  I'm so glad we decided to do it.

Recommendation: If you are trying to find something fun to do in Galveston taking a Harbor Tour is one of the best things you can do.  It will give you a different perspective on the island.

Directions:  The museum is located just off of Harborside Drive in Downtown Galveston.  You have to buy tickets for the Harbor Tour inside the museum and then you board the boat at the dock on the water's edge.

Additional Information: There are other dolphin and harbor tours available in Galveston.  Most of them are similar in price.  This tour is special because it allows you to add a visit to the museum to your ticket.

Places Nearby: This was my third trip to Galveston Island, but it was the first time that I really saw downtown Galveston.  I was impressed by the history and beauty of the buildings.  Galveston has been a thriving city for over 100 years so there are a lot of things to see and do in the downtown area.  Check out www.galveston.com/downtown/ for a list.

Next Stop: As if we hadn't had enough of the harbor yet, our next stop was the free ferry ride from Galveston Island to the Bolivar Peninsula.

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I would love to hear what you think. Did I get it right, or was I dead wrong? What was your experience like?

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