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San Diego is full of awesome family attractions! In fact, there are so many places to go and things to see, I was actually overwhelmed during our trip and will need to circle back to finish my bucket list. But then again, I like to plan things super last minute and usually cause myself more anxiety with this wing it on the minute type of trip planning… My New Year’s resolution was to do a better job with long and short-term planning!
From the moment we stepped foot on California soil, each person we met sang a similar tune… “Make sure you take the kids to the USS Midway” so naturally, we wanted to see what all the hype was about. We’ve learned over the years to heed the advice given by locals and other travelers as they almost always know what they are talking about.
So one of our first stops in San Diego on our West Coast Family Fun Trip was the U.S.S. Midway Museum! Located at the navy pier in downtown San Diego, and encompasses over 30 restored aircraft and 10 acres to explore at your leisure!
Taking a day to experience this warship’s sights, sounds and… smells was a fun activity we all enjoyed. It was our first time touring a ship of this site and it was everything we imagined plus more! The ship offers a self-guided audio tour for adults and a separate audio version for kids, and basically, you walk around scanning different checkpoints to start the next recording.
The day we picked was a probably the only day out of the 3 months when it actually rained. But it wasn’t like a hard rain, more of a mist- so just barely enough to make you second guess your decision to go, but not enough to stop you from putting on your rain jacket and getting the car!
Everyone must have had the same idea, to visit a museum today, because parking was not only tight to get into, but also packed to even grab one. We waited around for about 10mins as other people tried to squeeze into the tiny spots, and by the time we made it around the loop- a spot had opened up for us… lucky!
The line was pretty long- so we were glad we had our tickets in hand allowing the lady at the front gate to scan us in through my Groupon app after a quick bag check. (Am I the only one who gets excited about a bag check?)
Once inside the gate- we took the stairs to the top of the ship where the entrance was. I forgot to make a note about how many steps it was exactly, but it was a lot, maybe 2 flights (of course we couldn’t take the elevator…)
We spent roughly 3 hours on board the USS Midway and never had a dull moment. Each minute was filled with entertaining information about life on board and historical facts. We toured everything from the bridge, galley, mess hall, chapel and Captain’s quarters, to the air hanger, the flight deck and the laundry facilities and Admiral’s Cabin! There is so much to see and we attempted to view it all!
Inside the Hanger Deck, there are a few tables with trinkets to buy, like paracord bracelets, a small snack shack, and additional paid experiences! Of course within like 2 minutes of being inside my kids already had soft pretzels and drinks. You can opt to take a ride on one of the many flight simulators, climb inside a variety of real cockpits or experience the Battle of Midway Theater for a 15-minute inspirational film.
We chose to skip most of these, as we felt pressed for time and really wanted to see the ship itself. We opted to spend more time on the tours of the flight deck which was really impressive and then head below deck for more tours. Although it was a lot of walking, our kids did well and no one complained about their feet hurting. They actually loved being in the tight spaces, climbing the incredibly steep metal steps and peaking into the life of those who served on this vessel, more than I anticipated. (Bonus!)
Before we left we had to stop by the gift shop, which isn’t as badly priced as I thought it would be! Everyone managed to stick to their budget and grab a take-home item for around $75 total. I even grabbed a cute ‘Rosie the Riveter’ red polka dot bandana… “We Can Do It!”