BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The days of sail will return to town at the end of the month as the Spanish galleon El Galeón Andalucía docks alongside the USS Kidd in downtown Baton Rouge.
The vessel is a replica of 16th and 17th century ship designs that served as the primary mode of ocean-going transportation for over 300 years. Constructed by the Nao Victoria Foundation in Spain in 2009-10, she has visited ports in four continents.
Since El Galeón is visiting "the Pirate of the Pacific" (aka USS Kidd), it is only fitting that guests meet a pirate while aboard. Captain Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies (aka actor and Johnny Depp look-alike Arik Christopher) will be available to greet the kids.
"We are very excited about the arrival of the replica Spanish galleon El Galeón at the USS Kidd Veteran's Museum," said David Beard, executive director of the USS Kidd Veterans Museum. "Replicas of this kind are always a big draw wherever they go and I think Baton Rouge will make them feel very welcome. El Galeón will give visitors a small taste of what it was like to travel aboard a large sailing ship during the early colonial period of the Americas."
El Galeón will call upon Baton Rouge after having visited the Gulf Coast cities of Galveston and Panama City. She will then continue up the Eastern seaboard this year before returning to her home port in Spain. The trip up the Mississippi River to Louisiana's capital city, however, was not an easy endeavor to arrange.
"Port visits like this would not be possible without the generosity of local businesses and individuals in the community," said Tim NesSmith, educational outreach coordinator for the USS Kidd. "Barges, gangways, barricades, and river piloting do not come cheap and are usually financially out-of-reach for nonprofits like the KIDD and El Galeón without outside assistance."
McKinney Salvage & Heavy Lift, Inc., of Baton Rouge is providing a barge and equipment at no cost to moor the galleon alongside the city's World War II destroyer during her stay as well as a tugboat to assist her upstream against the Mississippi's current. The Associated Branch Pilots, Crescent River Port Pilots Association, and New Orleans-Baton Rouge Pilots Association are all donating their time and services as well to guide this historic replica safely upriver for the 229-mile distance from the Gulf.
El Galeón will visit Baton Rouge and the USS Kidd Veterans Museum from April 29 to May 7 and will be available for touring by the public. Tickets are $10 for Adults and $5 for Children ages 5-12 for El Galeón. A two-for-one combination discount where visitors can tour both vessels is also available at $15 for Adults and $10 for Children ages 5-12. Children ages 4 and under are free. The Kidd museum will also be open for extended hours for the duration of the galleon's stay.
The port visit will wrap up on Sunday, May 7, with the Kidd's monthly Free 1st Sunday program where the Kidd and the museum are free of charge to the public (tickets will still be required to visit El Galeón). The theme for this month, of course, will be "Pirates & Princesses" and guests are encouraged to dress accordingly.
"This promises to be a thrilling opportunity to rediscover the past and return to a time when new discoveries were commonplace," said NesSmith.
For more information, CLICK HERE or call (225) 342-1942.