New Bedford was the mid 19th century’s preeminent whaling port and for a time “the richest city in the world.” Whaling, a leading 19th century enterprise, contributed to America's economic and political vitality. New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park helps to preserve, protect, and interpret certain districts, structures, and artifacts that are associated with the history of whaling and related social, economic, and environmental themes for the benefit and inspiration of this and future generations. The park encompasses 34 acres spread over 13 city blocks and includes the New Bedford Whaling Museum, the Seamen's Bethel, the schooner Ernestina, and the Rotch-Jones-Duff House and Garden Museum.
Leashed pets are permitted in the park, but are not allowed in the buildings. Leashes must be no longer than six feet.