Flanked by sailing ships and painted a brilliant red, this museum on the Lunenburg waterfront strikes a dazzling pose, and the exhibits and activities experienced here more than live up to the initial impression. With an aquarium featuring 14 tanks devoted to native species, tidal touch tanks, themed films, daily activities, and displays about shipbuilding, whaling, and other maritime endeavors, there's plenty to keep the whole gang happy. Demonstrations on topics such as sailmaking, boatbuilding, and dory launching are also given, and dockside you can visit a restored saltbank schooner and a steel-hulled trawler and hear a few fish tales. If you think you might want to visit more than once, a season pass costs less than two separate visits.
As if the comprehensive overview of Nova Scotia's fishing industry weren't enough, the Bluenose II (902/634–4794 or 866/579–4909 www.bluenose.novascotia.ca), the province's sailing ambassador, calls the museum home. Built
in 1963, she's a faithful replica of the original Bluenose, the Lunenburg-built schooner that gained prominence during the 1920s and 1930s as the North Atlantic fleet's fastest vessel, which sank in 1946 after striking a reef. If the Bluenose II isn't sitting pretty in port when you arrive (the ship has an extensive sailing schedule), you can still get a glimpse of the famed ship by digging a Canadian dime out of your pocket—it's pictured on the back.