Replicas of Columbus' Nina and Pinta open for tours at Schooner Pier in Biloxi

Replicas of Columbus' Nina and Pinta open for tours at Schooner Pier in Biloxi

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - You may now have a chance to step back in time to experience being on-board Christopher Columbus' Nina and Pinta.

These ships aren't the real thing, however they are considered the most historically accurate replicas.

Docked at the Schooner Pier in Biloxi are two large ships, the Nina and Pinta. The Captain of the ships Stephen Sanger said he and his crew just finished their great loop around the Gulf Coast, East Coast, Great Lakes and Midwestern River Systems.

"These ships were coming over in the hundreds after Columbus mapped the first voyage.

So after that these ships were predominately used for trading all over the country. Predominately obviously hitting Florida first," Sanger said. "The ships were used over a 200 year period by Columbus and many other explorers during the time of the Age of Exploration."

The Columbus Foundation orchestrates the tours of the ships considered caravels. They are the smallest ships of Columbus' three vessels.

The largest was the Santa Maria. However, that ship isn't part of the tour in Biloxi.

"We have the Nina and the Pinta, everyone asks where is the third ship. Well the Santa Maria was a much larger ship than the Nina and the Pinta were. The Nina and the Pinta would only draft seven feet. That's another very good reason why these ships lasted so long during the Age of Exploration because they were able to go up the estuaries and rivers, where the larger ship like the Santa Maria simply couldn't do," said Sanger.

During the Age of Exploration, the ships helped explorers like Christopher Columbus open up new trade routes.

"So for these ships to have been used over a 200 year period, it's very important part of history for people to come down. To understand what life was like for sailors back in the day, and how the mechanics work on-board these ships," said Sanger.

The ships are available for tours Friday, Dec. 15 through Monday, Dec. 18 from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.

The ships are docked at the Schooner Pier in Biloxi.

Tickets can be purchased at the pier and cost $8.50 for adults, $7.50 for seniors and $6 for students ages 5 to 16. Children four and under are free.

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