Cool Day Trips

USS Alabama

USS Alabama

Brief History

The USS Alabama began it’s duties in the early months of 1943 in the north Pacific in WWII. Later that year it was shifted over to the south pacific. Weighing in at about 45000 tons and with a crew of 2500 people, it ended its active-duty leading the American fleet into Tokyo Bay in 1945. The USS Alabama was awarded nine battle stars in its short 3 years of active service.

The End Of The Road

In 1962 the US government announced that the USS Alabama would be scrapped. A group of people from Alabama had other visions for this massive ship. They envisioned it as an attraction to be added to the Veterans Memorial Park. This became a reality in January of 1965.

USS Alabama Quick Stats

  • Commissioned: 8/16/42
  • Weight: 35000 to 44500 Tons
  • Length: 680 Feet

We decided to take a trip and check out this ship for ourselves. Upon arriving, you will need to pay a separate parking fee to enter the parking lot. At the time of our trip, it was $4.

Battleship Memorial Park

As you head to the parking lot you will pass a small parking area on your right side. This area is called Battleship Memorial Park. This park honors veterans of all wars. Along with the memorials are all different types of military equipment. These pieces of equipment are spread out throughout the grounds.

Choices

Moving on to the main parking area you will have several choices. You can continue to walk the grounds and check out all the military equipment, head to the USS Alabama entrance, or walk over to the pier that overlooks Mobile Bay. The pier is a great way to view this ship.

Through The Gift Shop

We chose to head inside and pay the fee to get our visit started. You will need to walk through the gift shop (surprise/surprise…lol) to get to the ticket area. Attached to the gift shop is a small cafe. Once you have paid you exit through the rear doors of the cafe. You are now in an area outside the USS Alabama & Medal of Honor aircraft pavilion.

More Choices

From here you can walk up the ramp to start checking out the USS Alabama, head inside to check out the Medal of Honor aircraft pavilion, or check out the oldest American submarine on display, the USS Drum.

Medal Of Honor Aircraft Museum

We chose to tour the USS Alabama first. Once up the walkway and on the ship you will enter through a door to find the beginning of the self guided tours. You should have received a map when you paid for you tickets but if not you can use the map on the wall in this area.

3 Self Guided Tours

The self guided tours are broken into 3 sections and will lead you through differant areas of the ship. They are color coded and you can follow them in any order you choose. They are very well laid out and easy to follow. There are restrooms but no food concessions on the ship. The only place to get food is the little cafe near the gift shop.

The Time Depends On You

The amount of time to tour this ship will vary. Some people like to just walk through and look as they walk, some like to look at some displays but not all, and some like to check out everything. We are the latter. We enjoy looking at all the displays and reading all the descriptions. If you are like us, plan to get here early. There is a lot to see.

Once you finish touring this massive ship, there are two more displays you can check out before heading back to the parking lot. The Medal of Honor Aircraft Display was our next stop, well, after a bite to eat…lol.

The Medal of Honor Aircraft Display is housed inside a large building. This building is a dedication to all of Alabama’s “Medal of Honor” recipients. It features a nice collection of aircraft, historic vehicles, and other war artifacts.

Get Your Picture Taken?

Oh yeah, be prepared to have your picture taken as you walk in. We are not really sure what that was about but there was a vendor taking pictures as you walk in and trying to sell them to you later on. We are not sure if that is a regular “thing” or just for that day.

There was a lot of cool stuff in this building and lots to read so plan on being here for at least an hour, if you are like us and read everything…lol.

The USS Drum

As you walk to the back of this building and head out the back doors you will have to make one more choice. If you are exhausted at this point and want to leave, you can head back to the gift shop/exit. If you are like us, you will head to the final display. The USS Drum.

USS Drum Bell

The USS Drum is the oldest American submarine on public display. It was home to 72 crew members during its time at war. It was opened to public viewing July 4th, 1969.

USS Drum Quick Stats

  • Length: 311′ 9″
  • Max Speed (Surfaced): 20.25 Knots
  • Max Speed (Submerged): 8.75 Knots

If you have ever toured any old submarines you will know that it’s a tight squeeze. This one is no exception. I am convinced that the only people that were allowed to crew submarines had to be under a certain height…lol. It is certainly a challenge for tall people.

Claustrophobic

That being said, it was set up nicely. You entered in one area, walked the length of the sub, and exited out the other side. All in all, it was an interesting display. There was one lady on the day of our visit who entered but exited almost immediately due to claustrophobia.

If you followed our game plan this would be your final display. We walked back through the gift shop and exited back into the parking lot. At this time is when we decided to check out the displays scattered throughout the lot and also checked out the pier.

Near the pier are covered picnic tables with small grills where you can relax and enjoy lunch. So you see you can certainly make this (and we recommend you do) an all-day trip.

Pros:

  • The Grounds and Displays Are Well Laid Out
  • They Host Cool Events Throughout The Year (check their Website)
  • The Covered Picnic Tables and Grills Overlooking The Mobile Bay Make This A Very Educational and Fun Family Day

Cons:

  • You Have to Pay 2 Separate fees to Enter. The Parking & Entry Fees should be Together and Paid At The Entry Booth
  • The Cafe Area Was Almost Out Of Food At About 1:30 PM And The Employees Were Not All That Friendly Or Helpful
  • The Cafe Was Very Expensive

Final Thoughts

Anyone who is somewhat interested in history or ships would love this place. Everything is well laid out and the information given for the displays is plentiful. The addition of the picnic areas makes this a great place to bring your family, learn a thing or two, and have some fun for the entire day.

Our advice if you are going to spend the day here is

  • Wear Comfortable Shoes
  • Bring Your Own Food & Drink
  • Take Breaks
  • Bring A Camera!!!

Date Of Visit: 12/26/19
Parking Fee: $4
Battleship/Display Area Fee: $26


We put together this video for you to get an idea of what to expect when visiting this park. It was very hard to cut this down to 11 minutes. There is so much to see.

Please enjoy the video and let us know what you think down below in the comments. Also, if you have been here let us know how your experience was.





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