The United States has a number of superb battleship museums dotted all around the country. On a very few of them, one can even spend the night. One of these historic ships that one can overnight on is the USS Alabama.
The United States also has five aircraft carrier museums around the country - four are Essex Class and one is Midway Class. These are all some of the best naval museums in the United States where one can learn about America's proud naval history (and particularly that of WW2).
The Background And History of The USS Alabama
The USS Alabama is a South Dakota class battleship. She was the fourth and last of her class built for the Navy in 1930. She was designed within the constraints of the Washington Naval Treaty.
Because of these constraints, she was rather cramped inside - even for a naval ship. The lack of space was made worse during wartime modifications like added anti-aircraft batteries and surging her crew. She boasted the main batteries of powerful 16-inch guns.
At the start of her service in the war, she served to strengthen the British Home Fleet to protect convoys to the USSR. But she spent most of her time in the Pacific against Japan. She took part in various campaigns including the:
- Gilbert and Marshall Islands Campaign
- Marina and Palau Islands Campaign
- The Philippines Campaign
- The Battle of Okinawa
- Attacks On The Japanese Mainland
After the war, she took part in Operation Magic Carpet to bring American servicemen home. She was decommissioned soon after the war in 1947 and was placed in the Pacific Reserve Fleet. In 1962 she was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register but was saved from the breaker's yard. Today she is a museum in Mobile Bay Alabama.
Staying Over Night on The USS Alabama
Accommodation on the USS Alabama is not intended for holidaymakers and is not a hotel service. It is a program intended for Boy Scout Troops, Girl Scout Troops, and church groups.
- Intent: Boy & Girl Scouts, Church Groups
Their policy is also that every group berthing area must be all male or all female. The gender of the group is determined by the one that makes the reservation first. Although this rule may have been relaxed since 2020.
The USS Alabama is an opportunity to step back in time and sleep in the bunks that real sailors slept in during the war. One will experience what calm nights on the mighty ship were like as one learns more about the men who served on her.
- Note: As of the Time Of Writing (March 2022) The Forward Berthing Areas Are Unavailable For Maintenence
There is a $20.00 per person charge and a total minimum charge of $300.00 for every group. Groups must also check-in before 8.00 pm.
- Cost: $20.00 Per Person, Total Minimum $300.00 Per Group
- Check-In: Before 8.00 pm
This is not a hotel and so there are not those sorts of services. Each group is responsible for bringing their own food and drink. There were microwaves aboard the ship and barbeque grills on the grounds in our picnic area. Food deliveries are also possible.
The USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park offers guided tours of the mighty battleship for those who would like a more in-depth understanding of the ship.
One recommendation by the museum to enhance one's visit is to have a catered lunch in the Wardroom or Fantail aboard the USS Alabama or in the Aircraft Pavilion. There are several meal packages available.
- Time Needed: Around 2 Hours
- USS Drum: The Submarine At The Park Also On Display
Groups should permit around two hours to explore the whole park. The park is more than just the USS Alabama.
There is also the submarine USS Drum and their Medal of Honor Aircraft Pavilion. The USS Drum is a Gato-class submarine that was first laid down in 1940 in Maine and commissioned in 1941. She was the twelfth of the Gato class but was still the first to enter combat in the war and is the oldest of the Gato class still around today.
Some of the main aircraft on display are:
- Red-Tail P-51 Airplane: Like The Places Flown by The Tuskegee Airmen
- VH1-N/ Bell 212 helicopter: Recently Restored - The Presidents Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, and George H. W. Bush Flew These Helicopters
- A-12 Black Bird: The Super-Secret Spy Plane of The CIA
In addition, they also exhibit a number of installations of tanks, guns, and airplanes to explore too. There are other aircraft displayed throughout the park outside of the Aircraft Pavilion.
- Adult: $18.00 (Aged 12 to 55)
- Children: $6.00 (Aged 6 to 11) - 5 and Under Free