First stop and check the ship models at the Maritime Museum at Aquatic Park and take in the WPA murals in the building. Interesting maritime history attached to the models, but be aware the exhibit is small. Then check out Hyde St. Pier.
It had been well over a decade since I was last there, and the exhibits keep changing. Check out the exhibits as you enter the pier and go throught the "Ark," the early houseboat. It's free. $5 gets you in to the ships, and lots of film loops and interpretive displays on the Balclutha/Star of Alaska will keep you engaged for a while. Then check the vintage vehicles on the Eureka ferry and check the cramped quarters and huge engine rooms of the Hercules tugboat. Several other vessels are under restoration, but have no access or displays at the moment. Remember, these are ships, so be prepared for steep stairs, high steps, etc. Definitely worth your $5.
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