Before the kids headed back to school from winter break we wanted to do a few fun things as a family. One day we decided to head down to San Pedro to check out the USS Iowa. Built in 1940, the USS Iowa served our country in World War II, the Korean War and the Cold War. The ship was awarded to the non-profit Pacific Battleship Center in September 2011 and opened to the public on July 7, 2012 at the Port of Los Angeles. While the ship is retired it must be maintained, and could be called into duty in the event of a National Emergency.
All the marketing material recommends the USS Iowa as a family activity, but I still did a little research on the website just to be sure it was appropriate for our small, active boys. I was glad I did as I learned a few things that helped us on our adventure. The Battleship is currently not ADA Accessible, which also means not stroller friendly - and therefore no strollers or walkers are allowed aboard the ship. There are a lot of stairways along the self-guided tour and they don't want you to carry children up the stairs- however children in carriers are allowed (so I grabbed our nearly retired Baby Bjorn and am SO GLAD I did). Some of the stairs are quite steep and our 3-year-old was a little challenged, but made it all the way through with a little encouragement from mom and dad. One year-old Daniel was in the carrier almost the whole time and even he enjoyed the adventure.
My husband and I were amazed at how well behaved the boys were. They were so entertained by all the stuff to see in, on and around the ship. We went at our own pace and spent a little over 2 hours aboard the vessel, checking out the cannons, Officer cabins, armored conning tower, wooden decks and more. We also spent a bit of time on deck with a great view of watching the nearby cargo ships unload - the crane's in action provided great entertainment during a snack break/rest on an available bench.
At the end of the tour there is a snack bar, although we brought our own snacks so we didn't try it. For ship safety there are no high heels, open-toed shoes, strollers or walkers. Running at anytime aboard IOWA, gangways or pier side is prohibited. The Battleship is not ADA Accessible (they are working on this). Winter hours are: Monday - Sunday 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., Summer hours are: Monday- Sunday 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. For more information visit Pacificbattleship.com