FX Excursions

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Anchors Away (Again) Aboard the U.S.S. IOWA

by Elyse Glickman

May 7, 2018

© Elyse Glickman

Age Specific / Multigenerational

There’s nothing that brings a multigenerational family trip together than a piece of living history kids, teens, parents and grandparents can all connect to. Disneyland and Universal Studios are obvious year-round crowd pleasers for Southern California visitors, and all generations have their pop cultural touchstones within the world’s movie capital.



© Elyse Glickman

A summer afternoon aboard the Battleship USS IOWA at the Port of Los Angeles, however, is a wonderful way to observe Memorial Day, July 4th or even a milestone birthday of a grandparent or other senior family member. Discussions that may happen during a visit to a place like this have the capability to connect generations by drawing parallels between World War II and what’s happening in today’s world.


Earlier this year, the legendary ship celebrated its 75th anniversary, commemorated with the long-awaited return of its maritime bell. The original massive sea-faring signaler, installed on the vessel during its 1943 commissioning, proudly alerted troops on board through World War II, the Korean War and the Cold War before serving 40 years as a welcoming beacon for visitors to Iowa’s Capitol building in Des Moines. Even with the reinstallation, what made the impressive vessel float and help U.S. troops prevail in World War II still commands respect among those interested in modern technology, engineering and history.


In its completed state, the “Battleship of the Presidents”-turned museum in 2012 is also an international symbol of freedom and diplomacy. The boat’s history-laden service is captured in many restored rooms ranging from the quarters of servicemen and officers to a specially designed suite where President Roosevelt and his successors stayed and conducted critical wartime and diplomatic business.



© Elyse Glickman

Self-guided tours are offered for an admission of $19.95 for those over 12, $9.95 for kids and $14.95 for seniors and veterans. However, a Full Steam Ahead tour ($49/person, advance reservations required) takes visitors to the next level of interacting with history. The tour provides access to areas not previously open to the public, such as the engine room, combat engagement center and gun plot rooms, where decisive meetings and plans took place which changed the course of U.S. history.

A Curator Tour, offered on certain dates in 2018 for an admission of $99, provides a more personal behind-the-scenes shipboard experience. Over the course of 4.5 hours, visitors are immersed in history, from a detailed film presentation to a 90-minute tour to exclusive stops in the IOWA‘s Brig, Barbershop, Post Office, Library and Chief Petty Officers’ Mess. Other features include a Q&A Session, souvenir photo and a buffet lunch. Other programs and packages for families and other large groups can be found on the website.


For a post shipboard treat, take some time to explore the revitalized neighborhood adjoining the Port of Los Angeles, which includes eclectic shopping and restaurants. Pappy’s of San Pedro, a long-standing local institution, is a maritime-themed restaurant that can readily provide your troops with a hearty selection of comfort food and upscale seafood dishes, as well as excellent appetizers, burgers and sandwiches.


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