- Adults $7
- Children 7-17 - $3.00; Children under 7 - free
- Active duty military - free
- Retired military (20 years) - $4.00
- Family - $14.00 (2 adults and 1 or 2 children under the age of 18; Each additional child - $1; Limit of 2 free children with the Family ticket.)
- Group tour tickets (10 or more visitors) - Adults $6.00; Children 7-17 $2.75
At several points outside and inside the submarine are audio tour stops. They tell you about what you are viewing, along with a short commentary recorded by the men who helped build the USS Albacore. At times it was difficult to hear (excited kids and nearby traffic sometimes drowned out the outdoor recordings), but they provided a nice mix of history and personal experiences. We then walked along the boat to the fore entrance.
Mind our heads, indeed! Getting through the door was an experience. Luke went in first, and had to pull the little boys across the thresholds -- their legs were too short to easily climb through the doors. As for me -- well, let's just say there isn't really a graceful way to get through them.
Every possible millimeter of space was used! Bunks were stacked three high - only Damien really fit in them! I can't imagine being at sea for months on end and sleeping in them. Luke tried to lay on one and asked "How on earth do you even roll over??" The only places that really seemed "spacious" by comparison were the control and sonar rooms, with room for people to both work and get in and out of the area, and the mess hall.
The control room was a dream playground for the little boys. Lots of wheels to turn, levers to flip and buttons to push.
Damien had to be physically pulled away so that another family could take a turn!
We also got to look up through the periscope! Pictures don't do the view justice - my camera only showed how bright the sky was that day, but looking in person, we could see out over the harbor.
There were two sections to the galley. One was a small pantry area, and the other was a more open cooking space at the end of the mess hall. The kids were intrigued by the backgammon and checker/chess boards built right into the table, and then realized it saved space - checkers fit in a small pouch, but a board takes up a lot more space!
(Don't mind Damien - he's still not happy about being relieved of his command.)
We headed inside to the museum in the back of the Visitor Center. It housed some memorabilia, and a continuous loop video of the history of the museum. By then, the little boys were getting antsy, so we didn't really explore too much of it. We went back outside to the Memorial Garden. There were several small monuments to different groups. First was a larger memorial topped by dolphin (the symbol of the submariner), dedicated to the the first Albacore submarine (USS Albacore SS218) , sunk in the WWII Japan theater.
Three other memorials are dedicated to specific boats lost in combat or at sea, like this one for the USS Thresher. The Thresher's demise directly led to the SUBSAFE certification program. In the 48 years prior to implementation, 16 submarines were lost in non-combat missions. In the 50 years since implementation, zero SUBSAFE certified craft has been lost.
A final memorial is dedicated to all of the submarines lost during World War II.
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