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Toledo Christmas Tree Ship 2019

November 15, 2019 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

The National Museum of the Great Lakes will welcome the arrival of Santa Claus and a tugboat full of Christmas trees.

Spectators can watch Santa and his boatload of trees dock behind the museum around noon, pick-up pre-ordered trees and enjoy holiday snacks with Santa. The magical experience helps honor and tell the story of the Rouse Simmons—a Great Lakes schooner built in 1868 serving the Chicago area and remembered most notably as the “Christmas Tree Ship.”

“Every year, the original Christmas Tree Ship, along with her captain, Herman E. Schuenemann, would arrive carrying a cargo of holiday trees. He was known for giving trees to Chicago families who couldn’t afford to buy them,” says Ellen Kennedy, director of education and visitor experience for the National Museum of the Great Lakes.

On the Toledo ship, trees must be bought ahead of time. The museum is also working with the East Toledo Family Center to provide trees for needy families.

The museum will be open 10 a.m. -1 p..m for guests to enjoy the museum, watch the tug’s arrival, pick up their trees and meet Santa.

Trees are 5-7 feet tall and cost $45.

Trees must be pre-ordered by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, December 3. There will be no walk-up sales. 


November 15, 2019
8:00 am - 5:00 pm
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