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We got to go down to San Diego, California recently for my husband’s work retreat. We just had our 2 older sons (ages 4 and 9) with us, so we decided to go explore. I have always wanted to visit one of those aircraft carriers or battleships. On Saturday we took the opportunity to have an adventure on the USS Midway.
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What a fun place! When you walk up you can see just how massive the ship is. They have converted it into a museum but it is one of the most interactive museums I have ever experienced. It is not the most stroller-friendly place but it is possible to bring one on most areas of the ship. The USS Midway is definitely easier with people that are able to walk on their own easily. Some of the stairs were quite steep and you had to walk through a lot of hallways where you had to step over partitions.
The Self-Guided Tour
When you first arrive you are given a device to listen to a free self-guided audio tour. Probably one of the best parts is the scavenger hunt for kids. There is a booth that explains how on some of the signs you can point your device and it will give you facts. These facts will answer some questions on a pamphlet. If the kids get all 6 questions answered correctly they will be presented with Airforce wings at the end in a very ceremonial way.
As we walked through the bunk areas we saw that the majority of the crew was staying in these bunk beds that were 3 beds high. They were stacked all over a small area so there was just barely enough room to squeeze between them. The bed area would lift up and that is where their belongings were stored. That had small lockers next to the beds for their uniforms.
The Control Room
The area that we stayed in the longest was the control room. There were 3 or 4 rooms that had computers and controls all over. Almost all the buttons and switches were able to be pushed and my boys loved it! They got to pretend that they were driving the ship, looking for enemy vessels and plotting courses. My husband and I really enjoyed this area also. We came on a weekend that wasn’t insanely busy so we got to have this area to ourselves for the most part.
Throughout the USS Midway, there are volunteers and veterans that are there to answer questions and give you real-life stories about experiences. It was so fun to see the cafeterias, the media rooms, the sickbay, mailroom, laundry room, and so much more. They did an incredible job of staging areas so that you could have a glimpse of what it really looked like when the vessel was operational.
Inside the main area, they have some planes set up for you to be able to go up and sit inside them. This was really fun for my boys.
On top of the USS Midway, they had planes lined up all the way down the runway. It was fun to be in the San Diego harbor and see the tall buildings as the backdrop to all of these historic airplanes. There is so much to look at and explore.
I would suggest planning to spend 2-4 hours there depending on how in-depth you want to go. We probably spent about 2 hours which included a potty break and a snack break. You are not supposed to bring in food or drink and they do have a small snack place there. I happened to have a few snacks in my purse so when we were getting hangry we stepped out on the deck for a quick nibble before continuing on. This is not a place you want to rush through too quickly so try to come when kids are not going to be sleepy or too hungry. Make sure to check out the amazing gift shop as well!
We were able to get discounted tickets by using the Groupon app on my phone. Since we weren’t sure we were going to go visit the USS Midway until just about an hour before, I had waited to purchase tickets. It was so easy to purchase tickets on my phone for cheaper by first going to Rakuten and clicking on their Groupon link. This got me money back from Rakuten and dollars off the tickets from Groupon.
For additional ways to make and save money on the side, you see my post here.
For another fun San Diego adventure here is my post about going to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.
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