USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum in San Diego

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 visiting Cabrillo National Monument, to hiking Cowles Mountain, to seeing the statues of the greatest generation 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 Pier in Downtown San Diego. I had members of my family serve in the military, one even in the Navy, so being able to tour this ship was a great experience and one 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 10 AM to 5 PM and costs $18 for adults (as of 2014). Once you board the ship, the tour is what you make of it. There is an audio tour that you can take with your headset, or you can simply wander the hallways of this famous ship and marvel at what life must have been like for the sailors. There are also 25 different types of helicopters and planes on top of the ship and 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 while walking through doors. If you are much taller than 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.

I am too tall

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 further into the ship to the sickbay and dentist area. The sickbay 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 intensely close quarters and realistic drilling sound they have in the dentist offices. I was not a fan, but it was interesting to see.

This alone makes me sick

From there, we headed into the engine room and saw the colossal 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 crazy to think about. 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 was a collection of tiny compartments to hold the higher offenders as well as one large room for the people who needed a night to readjust themselves. If you are claustrophobic, 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. 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 captain’s quarters.  The aircraft 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.

Next, we headed into the Admiral and Captain Quarters, and I have to say this is the place to be on the boat. They have their private kitchen where cooks can cook for them, as well as living rooms, full bathrooms, and even couches. They also had an entire war room complete with maps and chairs situated around a table, just like in all of the great war movies.

Why is there an American Idol flag…

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 and didn’t see it all before we headed out. It is a remarkable experience if you are into machinery and military history, and even if you are not, I would still recommend it. Make sure to leave me a comment if you enjoyed it as well.

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