As part of our deployment bucket list, we spent a busy and fun-filled day in Mobile, Alabama. And seeing the USS Alabama was at the top of our list!
Your day in the Azalea City isn’t complete without a visit to Battleship Memorial Park and its showpiece the USS Alabama. This park is one of Mobile’s main attractions and makes for a fun experience for adults and kids alike.
We had only a single day in Mobile and we spent over half of it here. A decision that we don’t regret at all! (Check here for 5 Free or Cheap Things to do in Mobile!)
Here are 5 reasons Battleship Memorial Park should be at the top of your Mobile bucket list!
The USS Alabama
The main attraction at Battleship Memorial Park is, of course, the battleship.
The USS Alabama, in its 45,000-ton glory, takes center stage at the park and it is massive! We spent hours walking around the ship and still didn’t even see half of it.
We scrambled up and down narrow stairs that were more like ladders, wound our way through living quarters and control rooms, and reveled in sparkling views of Mobile Bay from the ship’s upper decks.
Even though the USS Alabama was commissioned in 1942 and earned 9 Battle Stars during WWII, it is in pristine condition. Cerulean skies in addition to the clean gray walls on the ship’s deck made clear, vibrant pictures. So, don’t forget your camera!
WenKa Mobile, AL USS Alabama Battleship Poster Vintage Travel City Posters Canvas Print Retro Popular Cities Poster for For Wall Art Modern Office Room Aesthetics (unframed,08×12 inch)A History Lover’s Guide to Mobile and the Alabama Gulf Coast
The USS Drum
Settled in a ‘cradle’ near the bay, there is also a WWII submarine at the park – the USS Drum.
Commissioned in 1941, it is the world’s oldest American submarine on display. It blew my mind to learn that this contraption earned 12 Battle Stars and sunk 15 enemy ships during its 5-year stint in WWII.
We manned the guns and rang the bell on deck before diving into the shadowy depths of the USS Drum. We explored the seamen’s living quarters, pushed buttons and flipped switches in the control rooms, and squeezed through the narrow passageways until we reached the end of the submarine.
Pictures were a little harder to take here due to the darkness inside the sub, but we had a good time learning about life under the sea. The kids especially loved that they could play with and touch the controls.
You can’t leave Battleship Memorial Park without a tour of this remarkable piece of history.
The Aircraft Pavilion
This collection of historic aircraft, vehicles, and other artifacts is a must-see during your visit. Wander around the planes and trucks until you find the memorial wall. It pays tribute to all of Alabama’s Medal of Honor Recipients.
The pavilion’s collection contains fascinating pieces of military memorabilia, including a super-secret CIA spy plane. (Well, it was super-secret back in 1965.) There is also Marine One, a helicopter that flew around the Presidents of the past.
You can get up close and personal with most of the vehicles in the pavilion. Plus, staff members are milling around to answer questions and tell you more about the aircraft and vehicles on display.
You’ll Get Lots of Exercise
Though a trip to see the battleship is quite literally a walk in the park, don’t underestimate the amount of cardio you will be doing.
The ship itself is FULL of stairs, not to mention all the walking you’ll do around the pavilion, through the submarine (which involves more stairs), and the other memorials.
The kids were worn out and ready for lunch by the time we left and I couldn’t blame them. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes.
As with any historical monument, a trip to Battleship Memorial Park is highly educational. It would make a great homeschool field trip for the chance to show your kids real pieces of history.
The Battleship Memorial Park website gives a brief history of the USS Alabama and the USS Drum. It also lists fun facts about the different exhibits. Make sure you check it out before you go!
While we were still at the park, the kids were already talking about a return trip to see the battleship again (so they could show their dad). And I have to admit, I wouldn’t mind going back either.
If you’re planning a trip to Mobile, make sure to add Battleship Memorial Park and the USS Alabama to your plans! It won’t disappoint!