Give your family the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of the brave 225,000 Midway sailors who called USS Midway home over the course of 20 years (the longest serving American aircraft carrier in 20th century). While in San Diego, the USS Midway Museum is a must for families!
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Visiting the USS Midway
I was especially excited to visit the USS Midway as my dad served in the Navy aboard a similar aircraft carrier, USS Hancock CVA-19. I was able to see what ship life was for him and finally visualize the stories I’ve heard all my life. It is recommended to start at the top deck as it gets crowded early. Here is a quick tour:
On the top deck, you’ll enjoy an impressive collection of 29 restored aircraft including some that flew in World War II, Operation Desert Storm, Koren War, and the astronaut recovery helicopters!
Some of the aircraft allow you the opportunity to walk in and take pictures. It’s really cool to see what it is like in the aircraft – especially sitting in the cockpits!
There were mannequins demonstrating various jobs within USS Midway that gave a fantastic glimpse into the past. Throughout the museum, there are volunteers eager to talk to you about the USS Midway and answer any questions. We were fortunate enough to meet actual sailors that served on USS Midway! They were happy to tell us about their role on the ship and told interesting story after story to our family. Never will you get such an opportunity to talk to brave sailors from that generation anywhere else!
On the first floor area, you’ll see more airplanes and have the opportunity to jump into cockpits, take photos, and really explore. My son was surprised by how many gauges and buttons there were to control the jet!
There are flight simulators that give you a realistic flight on the jets – my kids LOVED this and flew upside down more than right side up. It was less than $10 for that.
We were able to watch our kids’ reaction inside the simulator on the monitor next to the simulator. They had the best time ever!!
The main attraction was climbing and walking through the various under sea level floors. Stepping over doorways and walking through tight hallways is enough to make anyone a little claustrophobic! You could easily get lost in this massive floating city!
We were able to check out the engine room, there are so many buttons, gears, and gauges to look at – I have no idea how they did it! That is why I highly recommend picking up the FREE audio tour gear when you first arrive. Each area of the ship is numbered, simply press the coordinating number to hear all about that room and even hear sailors talk about their work in that room. It is highly informative. My kids loved engaging with them, asking questions and learning a lot. History really came to life on USS Midway!
My dad always talked about how his sleeping quarters were tight. We were able to check out the captains quarters and sailors quarters on USS Midway. Here we are checking out the actual stacked 3 high beds. It was seriously tight and nearly impossible to get in and out of! My dad said where he slept the beds were stacked 6 high!
Like I said, the passageways are narrow, especially the steps going to each level. Strollers are not allowed on the ship for obvious reasons, so plan to carry your kids. Don’t let this deter you as the USS Midway is an amazing learning opportunity. Kids are natural explorers so going down stairs like this and through a maze of hallways is exciting!
We were tight on time and only spent 2-1/2 hours at USS Midway, you could easily spend 5 hours and still not see and experience everything!
USS Midway Museum
910 N Harbor Dr
San Diego, CA 92101