Monday, August 6, 2012

Review of Patriots Point Naval Museum

One of the highlights to our Kiawah summer vacation back in June was a trip to Patriots Point naval museum featuring the USS Yorktown and USS Laffey. The Yorktown is a retired WWII aircraft carrier located just off the Cooper river bridge in nearby Mount Pleasant. It is the first exit right off highway 17. It is pretty tough to miss the turnoff as there is signage indicating the exit just after crossing the river. The aircraft carrier along with other historical naval craft is located in the Patriot’s Point area right across the river from downtown Charleston. The Patriot’s point area is also located adjacent to the Charleston Harbor Marina.
The cost of admission to the USS Yorktown exhibit is $18 for adults. The admission for children is eleven dollars with those under age six being free. I would recommend seeking out a coupon found throughout various downtown Charleston establishments to save a little extra money. Also consider looking on the website for specials or discounts when making advance purchase. If living in the area or plan on being in Charleston area more than once during the year, there is a seasonal pass that is reasonably priced and may be ideal to really take your time exploring the ship.
This was my first visit on an aircraft carrier. The tour immediately captured my attention when walking upon the top deck for a fantastic view of Charleston harbor and the Cooper River Bridge. The tour turned even more impressive as we navigated through the various galleys, sleeping quarters, and strategic mission rooms that were once inhabited by the brave US sailors that fought in World War II. The information comes at you through numerous plaques, aircraft displays, movies, models, artifacts, and audio clips located throughout this floating city.
To really explore the ship, I would recommend a good pair of walking shoes and be prepared to ascend and descend several stairs. Be warned that though some stairwells are gradual ascent, there are a few that go straight up and down through narrow openings. Keep these physical demands in mind if you plan on taking this tour with young children, the elderly, or have a member in your group that is disabled.
This tour has it all and even includes a “mess hall” that actually serves meals. (We had to pass up the mess hall in favor of some southern barbecue in Charleston later that day). There is so much to see between the USS Arizona and the adjacent destroyer across the pier. This exhibit could technically require more than one day to really absorb all the information and appreciate the history of this amazing carrier. The views off the deck of the Cooper river bridge also make for a great photo. Overall, I highly recommend a visit to Patriots Point.

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