Beaufort residents and visitors next week can explore replicas of the Nina and Pinta ships that Christopher Columbus sailed across the Atlantic Ocean.
The wood ships are traveling educational museums for Columbus Foundation Inc., based in the British Virgin Islands, and will be docked at the Beaufort Downtown Marina from Monday to April 13. The ships will be open to the public between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. starting Tuesday.
The ships had scheduled visits in Charleston and Savannah, so the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce asked about a stop in Beaufort, chamber tourism division executive Robb Wells said.
Jamie Sanger, a cook on the Pinta and son of the captain, Morgan Sanger, said the opportunity to stop in Beaufort opened up when the stop in Charleston fell through because of miscommunication about the schedule.
Originally expected to be in town for only a day, the visit was extended, and a Student Appreciation Day was added for Tuesday, in which the chamber and marina have partnered to offset the price of admission, Wells said.
Admission is usually $8 for adults, $7 for seniors, $6 for kids and free for children under 4 years old, but on Tuesday, it will be $5 for adults and seniors and $4 for kids. Special pricing is available for groups of 15 or more.
"I'm excited about this, as the father of two kids, and I hope the schools and parents can come bring kids to see the ships," Wells said.
The Nina was built in 1991 as the foundation's original replica of a 15th-century caravel. It is the same size as the original ship, according to its website. The Pinta, built in 2006, is 15 feet longer and wider than the original.
This isn't the first visit by the replicas. The Nina has been to Beaufort five times and came with the Pinta the last time, in 2010.
Except for the captain and first mate, all crew members are unpaid volunteers who work because they're passionate about the boats and sharing history, especially with children, Jamie Sanger said.
The ships allow visitors to see what it was like aboard the ships that carried Columbus and crew across the ocean.
"Everyone reads it in a book, but no one sees it firsthand," Sanger said.
Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/IPBG_Erin.