This paper is concerned with investigation of the dynamic behaviors of cranes under seismic effects. For this purpose, firstly we have performed experiment on a 1/20 scale crane model on the shake table with real earthquake data, then a multi degree-of-freedom non-linear mathematical model is developed including behavior of the container cranes under earthquakes and simulated. The simulation system has a five degrees-of-freedom and modeled system was simulated for the ground motion of the El Centro earthquake in USA, 1940. Finally, the time history of the crane bridge displacement and acceleration responses of the both theoretical and experimental cases are presented. Theoretical and experimental results exhibit that the mathematical model is accurate. This study also shows the destructive effects of high accelerations which occur during the earthquake. These effects cannot be omitted in the design of cranes. The result of this study which is an accurate mathematical model can be inspiring for the engineers in terms of design parameters.