A day trip into history aboard the USS Hornet – this is a fun experience for all ages. You step into this massive hulk of a ship and immediately you are transported to another time, another space – yes, time travel is possible! We went here (mom and son) as part of a Cub Scout troop overnight trip to the Hornet and that made it all the more thrilling.
The USS Hornet is a museum, yes – but it is also a ‘Living Ship’ and a tribute to the veterans who served on it during WWII. We heard lots of interesting stories from the museum docents and the volunteers who were with us for the duration of our stay – many of these docents are war veterans and their experiences make for a rich experience for all of us as well.
The ship has many points of interest including the flight deck, the island/naval bridge and the Apollo artifacts. As we were part of a scout troop, we saw many parts of the ship normally covered in special tours like the Flashlight Tours. We also ate dinner and breakfast in the mess like the crew and slept in the berths (restored now) where the real crew members slept. The flight simulator was a high point of interest among the boys who went there for repeat rides. We ended the night by listening to ghost stories told by a docent in a darkened area of the ship – supposedly one of the most haunted areas – and watched as a friendly resident spirit operated a flashlight – the flashlight was placed on a ledge with no one near it (at least not human) and we watched the light come on and turn off (truly!) in fascination.
Tips and more:
- Wear comfortable shoes – there is a lot of walking involved and a lot of climbing up and down stairs which are steep and narrow.
- Watch out for your head – lots of low lying roofs (this warning isthere everywhere and the docents tell you as well)
- Do not jump even from the lowest step onto the floor – your knees are bound to get hurt.
- Be sure to take docent led tours - this takes you to places in the ship you cannot go by yourself on a self-guided tour and you will miss out on the interesting stories the docents have to offer
- Ask questions –the docents are knowledgeable and love sharing their stories and information
- Take your camera – this glimpse into history, into the inside of a warship, and great views of the Bay Area are to be captured. And who knows, you might end up capturing one of the spirits of the Hornet as well in your camera!
- Try to go on a ‘Living Ship’ day. Our overnight stay was planned to coincide with a Living Ship day to get the most out of it but unfortunately, the ‘Living Ship’ event got cancelled that time but what I heard about it was something we were all looking forward to – costumed crew manning the ship, and for visitors to experience life on board a warplane carrier.
- Ask about the resident spirits – you will definitely be thrilled with the stories you hear. And you might get a chance to say hello!
- Stand on the very steps where President Nixon stood as he waited to welcome the astronauts back from their Apollo 11 landing – on the very deck where Neil Armstong took his first steps (after the famous ‘one step on the moon’) on earth. There are unique and wonderful Apollo 11 displays in the museum which you should not miss.
- Prices for overnight tours vary. Ticket prices for regular visits, are, I feel nominally priced for such a wonderful piece of history.
- lots of free parking nearby!
All in all, a wonderful Bay Area gem that should not be missed.
Birthdate is the theme this week - Open the book you are reading. Open the page number that has your birthdate - pick the first sentence from it and post the snippet.
From Page 2 of ‘The Feast of Roses’ by Indu Sundaresen
‘The bazaars were barren too, shopfronts pulled down, shopkeepers too tired to haggle with buyers.’
Have you seen anything as pretty, as picturesque as the rainbow? Perfect proof that Mother Nature is a wonderful painter!