Battleship Memorial Park is a great place to visit for any age. If you are traveling on I-10, either heading out of Mississippi and into Alabama or heading out of Alabama and passing Mobile on the way out, then this is a great place to stop for a few hours.
You can easily spend several if you really want to explore everything they have to offer, but you can easily see a good amount of it in about two as well.
Battleship Memorial Park
You can get the full Alabama Unit Study as well for free! This includes crafts, movies, printables, field trips, and more!
The parking fee is two dollars. Admission is free for kids up to 5 years of age, and then it is six dollars up to age 11 and fifteen dollars for everyone else, unless you are military, in which case it is just five dollars. They do offer a few discounts as well, so just check out the battleship memorial park website before you go.
There is not only the USS Alabama to see there, even though it is obviously the main draw, but several aircraft outside, as well as an indoor museum with many more aircraft and vehicles, the USS Drum Submarine tour, several tanks, memorials, grounds you can hang out at, plus the gift shop to see.
If you are a homeschooling family, this is a wonderful place to see, and your kids will have a great time exploring it.
It has been open since 1965 and the battleship itself has a great history to learn about. The battleship was commissioned in 1942 and the submarine in 1941 and both were used in World War II.
There are a couple of options with touring it, too, so you have choices to help you if you don’t wish to spend quite as long there. There are 3 tours that are color-coded and each one is about a 30-minute-long tour. You can check out which one/s you prefer to see and leave out the one you may not be as interested in if time is a factor. There is a lot of walking and some climbing with the stairs and ladders on the ship, so if someone in your party has an issue with that, you’d want to figure out which tour would be best before starting out. They give you a hand out with all the information for each tour on it, too, so you have something printed to read as you go.
You can see the neat things like the living quarters, bakery, barber shop and more on one tour, the below decks, engine room and radio room on another and then the main and upper decks, bridge and guns on the third.
The battleship is 680 feet long and seeing the decks alone is amazing. There are several turrets and guns to see and your kids can climb up in the seats on some and have a blast pretending. The view over the water is very cool and there may be ships on the water at the time as well.
I would for sure plan at a minimum, an hour for the ship itself. Then, if your family is into seeing all the nooks and crannies and not bothered by the climbing, then do all three tours.
The grounds at the battleship memorial park have several things to see, and you can choose to do them before you go on to the ship or submarine, or afterward. The memorial park is located closer to the entrance of the park, right after you pay for parking, and so if that interests you, it may be better to park your car by it and see it first, or last, because it is a long walk from the main parking area than anything else there.
There are a couple of large airplanes outside along the parking lot, and a good-sized section of tanks to see. My kids loved the tanks and some of them are not chained off, so they could get on them and climb, and take photos, which they thought was the best thing ever.
The indoor aircraft area is set up much like a large hangar and has some amazing things to see inside of it, like the SR-71 Blackbird, some really neat artifacts, and clothing, plus vehicles from the World War II, as well as several other aircraft.
They are some videos you can watch, and a lot of information packed into this building.
Then, the USS Drum is passed that building and back outside. It is amazing to tour and I would recommend doing it. You get to go up on the deck of it and then down into the submarine, where you get to see a good amount of the inside of it. They have kept it up very well and seeing all the neat instruments, and the engine, plus the living quarters is really something. It is over 300 feet in length but it is a tight fit walking through some of those rooms!
Your kids can pretend to steer the sub and climb up a ladder and see the porthole. They will really get a good understanding of a submarine after touring this. It is so much better for teaching when they can see and touch these things and the impact it leaves is awesome.
When you come out of the submarine and on to the deck, you can get a great view of downtown Mobile.
You also have the option of picnicking on the grounds there, and they do have some grills and a fishing area as well. If you can work this into your day, it’s a great way to get a break there and not spend the money eating somewhere else.
My family has been here twice now, within about a 5-year span and both times my kids got a lot out of it and were very impacted by it all. They had forgotten some of it from the first trip too, so we were glad we returned.
Overall, we definitely recommend checking out battleship memorial park and teaching your kids about our country’s history and military by seeing these things in person and not just in a book or on a screen.