Recently Amie and I spent the weekend in San Diego and tried to do a lot of the attractions that we had never done before. From Cabrillo National Monument to hiking Cowles Mountain to visiting the statues of the greatest generation ever in the port of San Diego. The last attraction that we had on the list however, was to visit the USS Midway at the Broadway Peir in downtown San Diego. Having members of my family serve in the military, one even in the Navy, being able to tour this ship was really a great experience I would suggest to anyone.
History & Information
“USS Midway was an aircraft carrier of the United States Navy, the lead ship of her class, and the first to be commissioned after the end of World War II. Active in the Vietnam War and in Operation Desert Storm, she is currently a museum ship at the San Diego Aircraft Carrier Museum, in San Diego, California. She is the only remaining US aircraft carrier of the World War II era that is not an Essex-class ship. When she was completed in 1945, she was the first US warship that was unable to utilize the Panama Canal due to her size.On 10 January 2004 the ship was moored at her final location at the Broadway Pier in downtown San Diego, where she was opened to the public on 7 June 2004. In the first year of operation, the museum doubled attendance projections by welcoming 879,281 guests aboard.”
The ship is open most days from 10AM to 5PM and cost $18 dollars for adults when I was there. Once you board the ship though it is really what you make of it. There is an audio tour that you can take with your own headset, or you can simply wonder the hall ways of this famous ship and marvel at what life must have been like for the sailors, as well as check out the 25 different types of helicopters and planes they have on the top. There is also flight simulators and other activities for the kids. We opted for the self guided tour and began our exploration.
The Interior Decks
What I immediately noticed when walking down to the interior of the boat was that it was not made for people like me. I am 6’3″ and had to duck constantly while walking. If you are much taller then me you may not like browsing the interior of the ship as it seems to get smaller and smaller; however, it is worth the lack of comfort to see all of the unique sites.
We spent some time walking around the kitchen which had about 20 tables and a small line where the food could be served before walking farther into the ship to the sick bay and dentist area. The sick bay is not somewhere you would want to be while on the ship. It looked like it would make me sicker to be down here with the intensly close quarters and realistic drilling sound they have in the dentist offices. I was not a fan, but it was interesting to see.
From there we headed into the engine room and saw the huge engine that propelled a boat of this size. One of the people there informed us that this was one of four engine rooms which is a complete trip. All of the grating you walk on is see through and you can see parts of the engine below it, almost like a scene out of Aliens.
From there we headed to the jail. The jail itself was a collection of very small compartments to hold the higher affenders as well as one large room for the people who simply needed a night to readjust themselves. If you are claustraphobic this is not where you would want to end up. You can even pose for pictures next to the fake jail cells if you so desire. It’s lucky they give you a map as you can easily get lost down here. They also have lots of wax figures everywhere which make for some funny photos.
Flight Deck & Planes
After spending an hour in the Interior decks we headed up to the Flight Deck to check out the planes and the admiral and captains quarters. The planes alone were worth the price of admission for me as they were from many different eras and were exciting to check out. You can even sit inside a plane for pictures and walk inside many different types of helicopters. What is immediately evident is how little amount of space they have to take off and it gave me a much better understanding of how difficult this must be. Check out some of the pictures below.
From there we headed into the Admiral and Captian Quarters and I have to say this is the place to be on the boat. They have their own private kitchen where cooks can cook for them, as well as living rooms, full bathrooms and even couches. They also had a full war room complete with maps and chairs situated around a table just like in all of the great war movies.
After this we headed back down to the Hanger Deck to look through the shops before leaving. You could easily spend a whole day here as we walked around for at least 2 hours before we headed out. It is a truly awesome experience if you are into machinery and military memorabilia and even if you are not, I would highly recommend it. Get directions and check out the rest of the pictures below. Make sure to leave me a comment if you enjoyed it as well.