Replicas of Christopher Columbus’ ships, the Niña and the Pinta, are docked in Perdido Key at Perdido Key Oyster Bar and Restaurant, 13700 River Road.

The Niña and the Pinta are caravels—small, highly maneuverable ships developed by the Portugese in the 15th century for the purpose of exploration during a period of time called “The Age of Discovery.”

The Niña was built completely by hand and without the use of power tools. Archaeology magazine has called the ship “the most historically correct Columbus replica ever built.”

The Pinta was launched in Brazil and was the first ship to sight land in the New World.

Both ships tour together as a new and enhanced sailing museum for the purpose of educating the public and schoolchildren on the caravel.

The general public is invited to visit the ships for a walk-aboard, self-guided tour through Jan. 4, when the ships are scheduled to depart.

Admission charges are $8 for adults, $7 for seniors and $6 for students aged 5-16. Children 4 and under are free.

The ships are open for tours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., daily. No reservations necessary. For more information, contact the Perdido Key Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Information Center at (850) 492-4660.

Bring the family to Perdido Key to explore the ships, the beautiful scenery and Big Lagoon State Park. Maybe even bring your kayak along to see egrets, osprey and other bountiful wildlife from the water of Big Lagoon. Many beachfront houses and condos are available for rent for a few nights, a week or longer.