Journey Information and Ideas for Visiting Patriots Level Naval & Maritime Museum in South Carolina

Standing on the USS Yorktown’s flight deck, with a view of Charleston’s church steeples and historic buildings throughout the harbor, I might see why Patriots Level Naval & Maritime Museum was probably the most thrilling army museums within the nation. However attending to the flight deck to get pleasure from this view was not straightforward – it was really a bit overwhelming the primary time – so I made a decision it was time to jot down a whole journey information to assist first, second, and third time guests profit from their go to.

Patriots Level – because the locals merely name it – is positioned on the fringe of Charleston Harbor in Mount Nice, South Carolina. You’ll must pay just a few {dollars} to make use of their parking zone, nevertheless it’s completely price it. You’re instantly greeted by the towering view of the USS Yorktown, the premiere attraction on the army museum. However it’s not the one factor to see and do.

40 Patriots Level Street, Mount Nice, SC | 843-884-2727 |

How Lengthy Will You Spend at Patriots Level?

Patriots Level options three Navy vessels to discover – and the USS Yorktown has six guided excursions alone – so it would take some time to discover the complicated even for those who solely do a cursory walkthrough.

I like to recommend first-time guests plan to spend the “day” – a minimum of eight hours. There’s a café on the USS Yorktown serving café-style meals, and there are many locations to take a break from strolling and standing.

When you solely have just a few hours, I like to recommend doing one or two of the self-guided strolling excursions on the USS Yorktown, the Medal of Honor Museum on the plane provider, and a walkthrough of the Vietnam Warfare Expertise.

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Admission Prices to Patriots Level

When you’re a solo traveler like me, admission to Patriots Level just isn’t dangerous in any respect. Nevertheless, in case you have a small household of 4 or 5, admission can begin to price a bit.

Single-day admission to Patriots Level begins at $24 for adults, $16 for youngsters ages 6-11, and $19 for seniors over 62. There are different packages and choices for admission, however that is the bottom value. I feel the admission value is effectively price it, contemplating the sheer quantity of superior issues to see and do when you enter the gate.

Is Patriots Level Accessible?

Conserving in thoughts the principle attraction at Patriots Level is three army vessels that have been by no means constructed for accessibility, there are issues to do on the museum complicated for these with strolling handicaps.

Within the USS Yorktown, the hangar deck and flight deck are accessible by elevator. This consists of the Medal of Honor Museum, a number of plane shows, and the snack store. Sadly, many of the remainder of the ship just isn’t accessible.

The USS Laffey and USS Clamagore usually are not accessible in any respect.

The Vietnam Warfare Expertise is an out of doors exhibit that’s reasonably accessible. A picket boardwalk winds via the recreation of a camp, and a number of other of the buildings are accessible.

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USS Yorktown WWII-Period Plane Service

The large attraction – and I do imply massive – at Patriots Level is the WWII-era USS Yorktown plane provider. There are just a few plane carriers within the nation open as a ship museum – and that is the one one in South Carolina – so it was an actual deal with to spend a day exploring the ship.

The USS Yorktown CV-10 was commissioned on April 15, 1943, and named in honor of the USS Yorktown CV-5 that was sunk on the Battle of Halfway. Nicknamed the “Combating Woman,” the USS Yorktown noticed fight throughout World Warfare II within the Pacific theater from 1943-1945. After conversion into an anti-submarine plane provider, the USS Yorktown served within the Vietnam Warfare.

In 1970, the USS Yorktown was decommissioned and 5 years later, sailed to Charleston to turn into the principle attraction of the newly created Patriots Level Naval & Maritime Museum.

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The Medal of Honor Museum on the hangar deck aboard the USS Yorktown.

Hangar Bay #3

The primary entrance to the USS Yorktown is in Hangar Bay #3. Guests climb a protracted sequence of steps to one of many plane lifting decks to enter the hangar bay, and an elevator helps with accessibility.

The Medal of Honor Museum is positioned throughout from the principle entrance. It’s certainly one of my favourite locations to go to at Patriots Level. The museum is devoted to telling the tales of Medal of Honor recipients. Interactive shows clarify the historical past of the medal given out for the reason that Civil Warfare, the primary recipient, and tales of fight and braveness which have led to the award going to lots of of veterans.

On the rear of the USS Yorktown, close to the fantail, is the small snack bar. You’ll discover typical meals like hen tenders, fries, and sandwiches, all constituted of frozen items, which are about pretty much as good as you’ll discover at a drive-in movie show. It’s not dangerous meals and retains guests fed whereas spending a complete day exploring the gargantuan plane provider.

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Hangar Bay #2

The hangar deck’s center part will possible be the primary plane you’ll encounter at Patriots Level. A number of plane are on everlasting show together with interpretive panels to elucidate their title and statistics.

The flight simulator is an fulfilling expertise, though it’s not interactive. It’s not the sort of simulator the place you’ll be able to take the stick and pilot the simulator your self – just like the one the place I turned the other way up on the Nationwide Museum of the USA Air Power – however reasonably it’s like watching a film in a chair that bobs up and down.

The 40,000 sq. foot hangar deck has loads of room for shows and folks, however are you able to think about the deck throughout WWII?

Hangar Bay #1

The hangar deck’s entrance has just a few older plane on show and a big theater for historic motion pictures. No less than, I feel that’s what it’s for as a result of I’ve by no means really seen a film on the big display screen throughout all my visits.

Tucked right into a nook is a recreation of the Apollo 8 capsule. On Christmas Day in 1968, the Apollo 8 returned after spending 20 hours orbiting the Moon. The USS Yorktown was assigned to retrieve the capsule and astronaut pilots upon their return. Sit down contained in the recreated capsule and take heed to the precise radio transmissions through the mission!

Self-Guided Strolling Excursions

The USS Yorktown options six self-guided strolling excursions starting on the Hangar Deck:

  • Dwelling and Working Areas
  • Fireplace Room and Engine Room
  • Flight Deck and Bridge
  • Ship’s Memorials and Fashions
  • Wardroom and Brig
  • Charleston Naval Shipyard Museum

It’s going to take round 4-6 hours to discover the displays, plane and stroll the corridors and stairs of all six excursions. When you’ve got restricted time to discover Patriots Level, I like to recommend taking Tour #1 and Tour #3. Every will take about an hour to discover and embody the ship’s areas just like the galley, enlisted quarters, machine store, flight deck, and command bridge.

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Tour #1 – Dwelling and Working Areas

That is certainly one of my favourite self-guided excursions on the USS Yorktown. The tour descends into the decrease decks and passes via the galley, cafeteria, crew quarters, and machine outlets. It was my first introduction to slender, steep staircases on a Navy vessel – and the low clearance bulkheads that somebody of my top ought to keep away from.

I like this tour as a result of it exhibits the areas of the ship the place the crew would have lived whereas not on obligation; tables with board video games, bunks stacked one atop of the opposite, and slender passageways offer you an amazing appreciation for anybody who served on a provider.

Tour #2 – Fireplace Room and Engine Room

Fortuitously for guests to the USS Yorktown, the engines are quiet today. However because of the downright beautiful shows within the Engine Room Expertise Exhibit, guests can a minimum of get an thought of what that roar seemed like.

The interactive exhibit is likely one of the finest at Patriots Level. It brings to life what in any other case was nothing greater than room after room of non-functional gauges and dials, making this one other of my favourite excursions on the USS Yorktown.

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Tour #3 – Flight Deck and Bridge

That is the preferred self-guided tour on the USS Yorktown. The tour begins with passage via the pilot briefing room on the way in which to the flight deck.

You achieve an appreciation for the sheer dimension of an plane provider when you’ll be able to freely stroll throughout the 50,000 square-foot flight deck. The flight deck is so massive that one time I visited, I discovered a homerun derby carried out on the deck – with baseballs plunging into Charleston Harbor.

Virtually two dozen plane and helicopters are on show on the flight deck. They symbolize all of the varieties of plane that have been as soon as deployed from the USS Yorktown, starting from WWII props to Vietnam-era jet plane.

A last climb on the self-guided excursions entered the bridge the place the ship was steered. The captain’s chair has the very best view on the ship with the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge stretching throughout the harbor!

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Tour #4 – Ship’s Memorials and Fashions

Simply because this tour consists of mannequin ships doesn’t imply it needs to be ignored. Show circumstances maintain large fashions of varied Navy ships. It’s a good way to take a look at these ships’ design and performance as a result of many usually are not on show at any ship museum.

Tour #5 – Wardroom and Brig

Shiny crimson bars locked throughout a black metallic grid. That’s what I keep in mind most concerning the self-guided tour via the brig. “Everybody misbehaves sooner or later,” an older man in a veteran’s hat as soon as instructed me on tour.

This tour included the barbershop, one thing I feel may need been a tailor’s store, and a soda fountain. Sure, a soda fountain on an plane provider.

Tour #6 – Charleston Naval Shipyard Museum

From the Nineteen Forties till the Eighties, Charleston Naval Shipyard was the most important employer within the Lowcountry area and an important Navy asset. This self-guided tour explores the shipyard’s historical past with interpretive shows explaining the varieties of ships constructed and transformed on the shipyard.

Captain’s Tour of the USS Yorktown

I’ve all the time loved the self-guided excursions of the USS Yorktown, however I’ve to confess I used to be excited after I realized concerning the Captain’s Tour by Bulldog Excursions. The native tour firm gives a one-hour guided tour of the historic WWII-era plane provider that features unique entry to areas of the ship and many nice tales of the historical past of the USS Yorktown.

The excursions price $39 per grownup and $29 per baby, with reductions for seniors and army, and needs to be booked prematurely to ensure a spot for the day you need to go to. Since you continue to should pay admission to enter Patriots Level, I feel this guided tour is finest for a second go to when you’ve extra time to discover.

USS Laffey Destroyer

If ships might discuss, the USS Laffey would have countless tales to inform. Commissioned in 1944, the Navy destroyer was instantly despatched into the Atlantic theater to help in D-Day landings in Normandy.

Later, the USS Laffey served within the Pacific theater till the tip of the battle, served as a help vessel through the atomic bomb exams, and served within the Korean Warfare. The “Ship That Would Not Die” was named after Medal of Honor recipient Seaman Bartlett Laffey, a Civil Warfare veteran.

The ship was retired in 1975 and 6 years later, sailed to Patriots Level Naval & Maritime Museum.

Touring the USS Laffey solely takes about half an hour, nevertheless it’s nonetheless definitely worth the effort to see inside this destroyer. The tour begins aft on the ship’s outer decks earlier than heading inside to the Fight Data Heart. A captivating interactive show that includes a hologram takes guests via the seek for enemy submarines.

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USS Clamagore Chilly Warfare Submarine

The USS Clamagore has a protracted – very lengthy – historical past. Commissioned in 1945, the submarine served through the Chilly Warfare period when American and Soviet submarines patrolled the world’s oceans.

In 1975, the submarine was retired with out ever serving in fight. Six years later, it sailed to Patriots Level Naval & Maritime Museum.

The self-guided tour on the USS Clamagore is the shortest and most tough at Patriots Level. The passages are extraordinarily slender and hatches fairly small. Standing at 6’1”, I really discovered it tough ducking via the hatches between every compartment all through the submarine. Troublesome, however not unimaginable.

The 2 largest compartments I discovered on the submarine have been the mess corridor – 4 tables with swivel chairs connected – and the torpedo room. House was at a premium, and it was fascinating to see simply how they utilized each cubic inch for storage, equipment, and residing area.

Vietnam Warfare Expertise

Again on dry land, the two.5-acre Vietnam Warfare Expertise is a recreation of a “Brown Water Navy” help base used through the battle. It’s an attention-grabbing facet of the Patriots Level Naval & Maritime Museum and one I extremely advocate all guests discover, even in case you are restricted on time.

A picket boardwalk winds via the camp previous a number of buildings, automobiles, and helicopters. Step contained in the Fireplace Management Bunker to see a video, discover the Mess Corridor, or climb to the Remark Tower’s prime to take a look at your complete camp. Climb aboard the UH-34 Sea Horse helicopter – you’ll be able to even sit within the pilot’s seat – or take a stroll via the CH-46 Sea Knight to see how medical sufferers have been transported.

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The huge anchor of the USS Yorktown hanging on the facet of the ship.

Ideas for the Finest Expertise at Patriots Level

There’s a lot to see and do at Patriots Level Naval & Maritime Museum, and it’s nearly unimaginable to do all of it with only one go to. Listed here are just a few tricks to profit from your go to and provide the finest expertise.

  • Arrive early and keep away from holidays as they are typically overwhelmingly busy.
  • Put on closed-toed sneakers. You’ll be strolling up and down very steep metallic staircases on the ships, and another kind of footwear might result in harm.
  • This isn’t a wet day exercise. Though parts of the excursions are contained in the ships, you’ll spend an amazing deal exterior getting there, to start with.
  • Deliver your individual meals and have a picnic! There are a few tables on the fringe of the parking zone.
  • Meals just isn’t allowed on the ships, however you’ll be able to deliver your individual water, and I extremely advocate it. Air con just isn’t accessible on the self-guided excursions, and the ship’s bowels are inclined to get scorching in the summertime months.
  • Go to the USS Yorktown first since that’s the place you’ll spend most of your time.

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