In Fort Myers, you can travel back 500 years in time for a week and visit replicas of two of the world’s most famous ships. From now through March 27th, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at downtown Fort Myers’ Centennial Park, the public is invited to walk on board the Niña and the Pinta.
As reported in the Island Sun / River Weekly News, “The historically accurate ships are touring together as a new and enhanced sailing museum to educate the public and school children on the caravel, a Portuguese ship used by Columbus and many early explorers to discover the world. The Niña is a replica of the ship on which Columbus sailed across the Atlantic on his three voyages of discovery to the new world beginning in 1492 Columbus sailed the tiny ship over 25,000 miles. That ship was last heard of in 1501, but the new Niña has a different mission; it is a floating museum that visits ports all over the Western Hemisphere. The Pinta was recently built in Brazil to accompany the Niña on all of her travels. She is a larger version of the archetypal caravel …”
You may be tempted to think that these ships, the smaller two of the three, were somehow less important than the expedition’s flagship, the Santa Maria. Not true. The Santa Maria, a ship that Columbus disliked, never returned from the new world having run aground on Christmas Day in 1492. As part of your visit, you will be given a brochure that sets the record straight. (brochure from thenina.com) If anything, the star of the New World Discovery show was the diminutive Niña. But to get the full context, it’s better you should read the history with the boats beneath your feet. If nothing else, you will wonder how such tiny ships could have done the job. (
Pricing for the hands on self-directed tour is modest but worth every penny. Tickets for adults are $8, seniors (60+) are $7, students (5 – 16) are $6. Children 4 and under are free. A small price to pay for a chance to lay your hands on a piece of history.