My family LOVES going to Charleston. It is one of my favorite SC cities to explore! Since my husband is in the Air Force Reserves and goes to drill at Joint Base Charleston, my family gets to spend a lot of time checking out all Charleston has to offer. You may go to Charleston for its fabulous beaches, but there is so much more to see and do there.
On our most recent trip, my boys and I went to explore the USS Yorktown at Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum in Mt. Pleasant. Not only is this a fun trip for you and your kiddos, but it’s educational too. Just don’t tell the kids that last part. They’ll be having so much fun they’ll never know they are learning too. Shhhhh!
Patriots Point is home to the USS Yorktown Aircraft Carrier, USS Laffey Destroyer, USS Clamagore Submarine (currently closed to the public), and the Vietnam Experience exhibit. Within those, there is also a medal of honor exhibit and plenty of amazing aircraft to check out. On this trip, my boys and I checked out the USS Yorktown and the Vietnam exhibit.
I had never been on a Navy ship before, so it was quite an experience. And, since the USS Yorktown is an aircraft carrier, there were many different jets and other aircraft on board to see as well. The aircraft is located inside the ship and on the top deck. And, you can explore it all! In fact, you are pretty much free to explore the entire ship. They have guides to help you explore on your own and I highly recommend using them so it’s easier to navigate your way around. There are also arrows and signs on the floors to help as well.
On your trek through the ship, you will get to see the different galleys, kitchens, officer and enlisted sleeping quarters, the brig (yes, there is a brig!), medical facilities, the navigational tools, engine room, soda fountain, ship store, dentist office (yep, there were dentists aboard the ship!), laundry area, and more! There were areas, like the soda fountain shop, that I never realized were part of a Naval aircraft carrier. We were also able to go up to the very top of the ship and see all the planes that were there. It was quite a view as well.
My boys loved exploring each of these areas. As we went through, they not only had fun, but they learned what it was like to be a Navy sailor aboard this ship. We also had a chance to talk about the military in general, the different branches, and the different jobs there are. They also learned the differences between the types of ships, like an aircraft carrier and a destroyer.
After we explored the USS Yorktown, we checked out the Vietnam Experience. I wanted to see this area for myself, but I also wanted to show my boys. I wanted them to learn about the war, and see what it was like for military members who were stationed in Vietnam and fighting. The outdoor area is set up like a US base camp would have looked like in Vietnam.
I highly recommend your family check out Patriots Point Naval and Maritime museum next time you are in Charleston! And, if you’re feeling really adventurous, you can even book an overnight experience and live like a sailor for a day and night!