Replica ships of Columbus’ Nina and Pinta now docked in Biloxi

Replica ships of Columbus’ Nina and Pinta in Biloxi this weekend

BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - History is coming to life in South Mississippi this week. Hand-made replicas of the Nina and the Pinta sailed into Biloxi Wednesday.

The ships, which are replicas of the same ships sailed by Christopher Columbus in 1492, will be in Biloxi through the end of the month, sailing out early on the morning of March 2.

Seeing the ships make their way through the waters Wednesday as they prepared to arrive at the Biloxi Schooner Pier, it is easy to imagine Columbus and his crew exploring new worlds.

“This is the best classroom I’ve ever had because here the kid doesn’t have to use his or her imagination,” said Dave Zenk, a first made on the the Nina. "You come on board and you have all your senses working. In terms of what the size of the ship is like, they’re all wood, all the same materials that the ships were originally built on. "

Zenk spends most of the year on board the Nina, which like the Pinta, was built completely by hand without the use of power tools.

“We’re museum ships, floating exhibitions if you will, a static display," explained Zenk. "We make 30 to 35 stops a year, touring ten and a half months of the year concentrating on the eastern United States.”

You can step on board and back in time to see what it was like to be Christopher Columbus sailing into the unknown.

“Essentially what we’re doing is educating the public and conducting tours for school groups," Zenk said. "Come aboard, all about the age of exploration. Columbus’s four voyages, the ship, the caravel that he used. These ships were used by most of the major explorers to open up the whole world to exploration.”

While in port, the Nina and the Pinta will be open to the public each day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for a walk-aboard, self-guided tour. Tickets are $8.50 for adults, $7.50 for seniors, and $6.50 for students ages 5-16. Children 4 and under get in free.

Teachers or organizations wishing to schedule a 30 minute guided tour with a crew member should call 1-787-672-2152 or email ninapintatour@gmail.com . You’ll need a minimum of 15 people, and there’s no maximum. Group rates are $5.00 per person.

After being in Biloxi, the ships will head to Gulf Shores, Ala. before continuing on their journey to Fernandina Beach, Fla.

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