“Christmas Tree Ship” to Arrive with Santa and Holiday Trees

November 14, 2019 (Toledo, Ohio) – On Saturday, December 7 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.

Like the original ship, Toledo’s very own “Christmas Tree Ship” will come bearing Christmas Trees that can be purchased ahead of time or purchased to donate to families in need. Additionally, the museum will open its doors to the community between 10 a.m. -1 p..m for guests to enjoy the museum, watch the tug’s arrival, pick up their trees and meet Santa.

“This year we are working with East Toledo Family Center to provide Christmas trees for local families,” says the museum’s Director of Communications and Development, Kate Fineske. “The trees are approximately 5-7 feet tall and cost $45—plus, include the unforgettable and unique delivery by Santa via a Geo. Gradel Co. tugboat.”

Trees must be pre-ordered by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, December 3. There will be no walk-up sales. To purchase a tree for yourself or one to be donated to a family in need, visit nmgl.org or call 419-214-5000.