Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Field Trip to the USS Iowa - #USSIowa

On July 7th, San Pedro Harbor opened its amazing new museum, the USS Iowa battleship. Teaching our children about the armed forces, experienced construction technics, history and live visual measurements, we ventured off to our latest field trip. Berth 87 is now the new permanent home for the retired USS Iowa battleship and is an amazing sight. If you have not taken a tour of a military ship, I suggest you head down to San Pedro for this amazing visual display of US history.

We crossed the bridges of Terminal Island and the city had placed plenty of signs for easy navigation to the berth.  Directly off highway 47, we turned left into the parking lot and easily found a very large area ample for the crowds.  We parked and the boys were OOOOHHH’ing and AAAAHHHHH’ing at the massive size of this battleship. 
From the street and parking lot, you get an excellent visual sense of the ship.  We walked up to the ticket line and waited for 10 minutes as the staff ran through 100 + people waiting to buy tickets.  

There were plenty of staff on site waiting to answer questions and direct you to the correct line as well as telling the next in line when the next window was available for assistance.  The museum had 3 open windows for daily trip tickets and a membership window if you decided.  We quickly bought our tickets and walked to the entrance of the ship where staff members take a family portrait of you for purchase in the gift shop if you so desire.
Upon walking up the ramp, we boarded the ship.  In amazement, the three of us stood on the deck and could not believe how truly massive this ship was.  We were welcomed aboard and told to follow the yellow arrows on the deck of the ship to guide us to the next area of display.  We walked around the deck of the ship witnessing the nine 16” turret canons.  The boys were amazed by the size of the chain for the anchor with links the length of our 8 year old is tall.
We next were allowed to walk through the captains’ quarters seeing the area where they completed their work, the bedding quarters and bath facilities.  The tour guided us through corradors where other officers bunked.  We walked up to additional levels on the ship.  
Unfortunately, there are many flights of very steep stairs and low ceilings so it would be difficult if not impossible for the handicapped to get the full experience.  We recommend contacting the museum ahead of time to ensure they have other means to assist disabled persons around the ship.
Inside the ship, sailor recreation areas and mess halls have ceiling heights of 6.5 feet and bulkheads cause one to step over threasholds in the doorways.  Additionally, decks have several steps and stumbling places however the museum has done an excellent job of labeling these areas with yellow paint to ensure people notice them.  
The tour walks you through the captains’ battle chamber which consists of 13” steel walls for safety in battle.  Next you are guided through the control room then passed several more weapons including harpoon missles.  The tour is semi-guided however leaves persons to take their time and enjoy the experience without being rushed through by tour guides.

We spent 2 hours on board the ship looking at all of the different places on the ship.  The end of the tour takes you to the mess hall and an area that has been converted into the gift shop, history of the ship displays as well as the sailors theater that plays movies on the history of the USS Iowa.  To get an excellent experience, plan on 3 to 4 hours to complete the tour.

USS IOWA FAQS:

Namesake:                   The State of Iowa
Ordered:                      July 1, 1939
Builder:                        New York Naval Yard
Laid down:                   June 27, 1940
Launched:                    Aug 27 1942
Commissioned:             Feb 22 1943
Decommissioned:          Oct 26, 1990
Nickname:                    The Big Stick
Honors:                        11 Battle Stars           
Displacement:               45,000 tons
Length:                         887 feet 3 inches
Beam:                          108 feet 2 inches
Max Speed:                 33 knots (38 mph)
Badge:  
                     
For more information on this trendous battleship, visit:
Wikipedia

TICKETS AND DIRECTIONS:

The museum is open daily from 9 AM to 5 PM with the last tick sold at 4 PM.  Adults are $18.00, Seniors and active/retired/reserved military are $15.00 with ID, children 6 – 17 are $10.00.  Children under 6 are free.

Address:                      Pacific Battleship Center
                                    USS IOWA BB-61
                                    250 S. Harbor Blvd
                                    San Pedro, CA 90731
Website:                      Pacific Battleship

There are many places to eat in San Pedro near the harbor at Ports of Call as well as across the bridge in Long Beach at Seaport Village and surrounding downtown Long Beach.  Pack a picnic lunch and enjoy eating by the water edge in Long Beach.


Post written by: Tim Bosek 
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