The Challenge

Climb aboard The Challenge, a replica of a Great Lakes Schooner that sailed from 1852-1889. Once there were thousands of ships like this sailing the lakes, carrying goods from city to city. They were the semi-trucks of the Great Lakes. 

Now it’s your chance to walk the deck, ring the bell, turn the rudder, and experience the living and working conditions aboard a 19th century sailing vessel. 

Aqua Side
Included in ticket price

Learn about Maritime Terms


These heavy weights are used to hold a ship in place and prevent her from drifting with the wind, tide, or current.

The Ship’s Bell

This can be used to make the crew aware what time it is. More importantly, it is a warning device for both other ships and the boat crew. In high winds, the sound of a bell will carry further than a person’s voice.

Masts and Standing Rigging

These are the vertical spar used to support the sails. There are always at least two masts, but there can be as many as four on Great Lakes Schooners.

Bilge Pump

Used to pump out water that collects in the bottom of the ship. All wooden hull vessels leak to some degree.

The Hold

Any area below the deck.

The Focscle

The forward ‘hold’ area. This is where the crew slept.

The Centerboard

The large, flat surface which is lowered under the schooner to increase the ship’s lateral area.

Deck House

The cabin near the stern used to house the captain and mate or cook. It is also the location where meals are cooked and eaten.

Wheel & Rudder

The wheel is the device used to turn the rudder. The wheel is located near the stern so it is as close to the rudder as possible. The rudder is used to control the direction of the ship.

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