It's always delightful to reach the northern end of Van Ness Avenue, turn right, walk through Acquatic Park, and see these historic vessels tied up at the Hyde Street Pier. The tall ship on the left is the Balaclutha, a steel-hulled cargo ship built in 1886. The three-masted ship on the right is the C. A. Thayer, a lumber schooner, built in 1895. There are four other vessels, including a paddle-wheel steamer for passengers and a rare paddle-wheel tug built in England.
Delightful as it is to see them, it's even more fun to go aboard. The National Park Service (NPS) does its usual excellent job of making them accessible and providing all the information you need to understand what you're seeing. There is also a visitor center, an indoor museum, and a library.
In years past, I have seen announcements that the Balaclutha goes out for a sail around San Francisco Bay and that the interpretive rangers lead passengers in singing sea-chanteys. Truly they are among the greatest teachers we have.