Coast Day

Join the Independence Seaport Museum on Saturday, September 7 for activities inside our Museum based around Coast Day, an event held on Penn's Landing by the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation in partnership with the Delaware Estuary. The activities inside the Museum will be held from 10:00 - 5:00 p.m., and are presented to compliment Coast Day outside on Penn's Landing. Museum activities are included with Museum admission.


Coast Day activities include: 

  • Philadelphia Ship Model Society Regatta
  • TEACH FLEET - World's largest LEGO Ship Model Collection
  • Knot tying
  • Navigation activities
  • Two Historic Ships - cruiser Olympia & submarine Becuna
  • Lecture and Book Signing with Gretchen F. Coyle and Deborah C. Whitcraft, authors of "Inferno at Sea: Stories of Death and Survival Aboard the Morro Castle."


Philadelphia Ship Model Society Regatta

The Philadelphia Ship Model Society Regatta will take place in the basin and the judged show will happen on the Landing. Museum guests will see various scale model ships including warships, steamships, sailing ships and submarines running around a course that represent islands. The models that will be competing will range in size from 1 – 6 feet in length. They are incredibly detailed and a great activity to watch with the kids.


TEACH FLEET, with 120 ships, is the world’s largest Lego ship collection. It was built to cover the entire range of modern self-propelled vessels from tugboats to aircraft carriers to super tankers. The ships are between 6 feet to 1-1/2 feet long (the average length is 3 feet).

The TEACH FLEET was entirely scratch built by Wilbert McKinley (a former ship designer for major naval architecture firms and shipyards) from Lego style building blocks without the aid of kits, directions, drawing plans or pictures. Several hundred thousand building blocks were hand selected from various used and recycled sources then cleaned and sorted by color and type prior to construction.

The ships were built to help bridge the digital divide by encouraging students that are traditionally underrepresented in math and science related occupations to consider careers related to math and science. Each ship is named in honor of a female, African American, Hispanic American, or Asian American who made a contribution to science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM). The biography of each ship’s namesake celebrates not only their STEM contributions, but also their individual triumph over the obstacles that were historically imposed on many Americans because of their gender or race.

The ships were designed and built to demonstrate how technology interacts with the land, sea, and air in both positive and negative ways; and how poor uses of technology can create problems, but good uses of technology can provide solutions.

The ships provide a catalyst for discussion to create environmental literacy, environmental stewardship, and the further discussion and study of the Geosciences, as well as interest in educational and careers opportunities related to the Geosciences.

TEACH FLEET has been working with other organizations for STEM learning and collaboration. For more information, go to http://teachfleet.com/Next_Event.html.

Inferno at Sea Lecture and Book Signing

The lecture for "Inferno at Sea: Stories of Death and Survival Aboard the Morro Castle" will take place in the Panorama Theatre inside the Seaport Museum. Following the lecture, there will be a book signing by authors Gretchen F. Coyle and Deborah C. Whitcraft.

About the Authors

Gretchen F. Coyle, an author and magazine writer, is a graduate of The Baldwin School and Hollins University. As a past president of the Long Beach Island Historical Association and the Tuckerton Seaport Board of Trustees, she is a well-known authority on maritime history. She and her husband John enjoy exploring the waters between their homes in Beach Haven, N.J., and Useppa Island, Fl.

Deborah C. Whitcraft, a former owner of Triton Divers and the Black Whale fleet of passenger boats on Long Beach Island, N.J. Her collection of artifacts, documents, and photographs of New Jersey maritime history, forty years in the making, is now the foundation of the New Jersey Maritime Museum in Beach Haven, of which she is president and founder.

Scout Day

Scouts can join Independence Seaport Museum for Coast Day on the Delaware River for a day of festivities throughout Penn's Landing. Attending troops, packs and crews get entered in to win a group sail on a tall ship during Independence Seaport Museum's Old City Seaport Festival October 11 - 13! Visitors also get to see the Seaport Museum and the two historic ships Olympia and Becuna.

The scout group rate is only $12 per person. Contact Group Sales Manager Tina Yerkes at tyerkes@phillyseaport.org or (215) 413-8626.