Over the weekend, Tyler’s cub scout pack went on a trip to the USS Alabama, a WWII-era battleship that now resides in Mobile Bay.
It hasn’t been modernized/updated/changed much since its days in active service. There are no staircases, no elevators, and very few added safety features like handrails and fences.
However, this means that you can really experience the ship as it was during World War II, which is really neat.
The tour offered is self-guided and easy to follow. It takes you all over the ship, from the upper tower down to the engine rooms, and lasts about two hours.
The engine room – kind of terrifying. So many things for little boys to test.
There are plenty of other things to see at the park – the submarine USS Drum and various aircraft.
My favorite part was the fact that the kids could actually touch things. And by “touch things” I mean “pretend to shoot each other.”
If you’re thinking about touring the Alabama, here are some pros and cons:
On the one hand……
1. It’s easy to get to, just a few hundred feet from I-10.
2. It’s an “authentic” WWII-era experience. You really get a feel for what life aboard the battleship would have been like.
3. It’s very hands-on, which makes it fun for families. The self-guided tour lets you explore at your own pace.
On the other hand……
1. The ladders and narrow passages can be challenging for families with small children, or anyone who has mobility issues. On the other hand, if the weather is nice, there is plenty to see on the wooden deck of the ship.
2. See #2 above. This can go both ways. The interior lighting is dim and there aren’t many creature comforts.
3. If you’re bad at following directions, the self-guided tour may be a challenge.
I would definitely recommend this trip to individuals and families with older kids. The battleship allows Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts to spend the night onboard (but not together!).
This is a nice-weather activity, but might be a bit brutal in the middle of summer. The breeze from the bay helps.
The sunsets aren’t bad, either.