Submarine Museums

Submarine Tours

Most Americans won’t have to travel far to find a submarine museum near them. The various submarines around the United States range in age from USS Drum built in 1941 to the USS Dolphin built in 1968. The museums have something for everybody and many have programs tailored specifically to youth and scout programs.

Next time you visit one of these submarines be sure to consider a guided tour where offered. Guided tours offer an experience above and beyond a simple walk through. Many tour guides served aboard submarines themselves and lend a first hand account to daily life aboard a submarine. Where guided tours are unavailable there will often be audio tours.

Some other services typically offered are overnight stays, events, and field trip opportunities or even remote learning experiences. Dont miss out on a great opportunity. Tour a submarine today!

It is important to note, submarines are inherently tight spaces which may be difficult for some to navigate through. Come prepared to step over and through bulkheads and watch your head!

US Submarine Museums

U-505

On June 4th, 1944 the U-Boat U-505 was captured by the U.S. Navy. After her capture the U.S. Navy interred the crew as prisoners of war and secretly towed the craft to Bermuda. U-505 is one of 6 U-boats captured by allied forces, of these ships only 4 survive as museums. In 1954 U-505 was donated to the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry where she has resided since. The boat stands as a war memorial to the sailors who lost their lives in the Battle of the Atlantic.

Portsmouth, NH

USS Albacore

The USS Albacore (AGSS-569) was launched in August of 1953 and served with the U.S. Navy until December of 1972. During its tenure with the Navy, the Albacore served as a research submarine with a state of art teardrop hull design. With submarine warfare reaching its peak during World War 2, and clearly being very effective, the United States was on an endeavor to upgrade their aging submarine fleet. The Albacore helped the Navy with such tests as streamlining control surfaces, a new hull shape, engine improvements, sonar systems, and sound dampening among many others. 

After the Albacore served her country, she was turned into a museum ship where visitors can tour her daily. Visitors can take a self guided tour of the Albacore which starts at the visitor center which also has a very nice gift shop. The tour takes visitors through the 205 foot long hull where they can see how sailors cruised beneath the seas. The control room, engineering spaces, and bunk rooms are all available for exploration. 

The USS Albacore is a seasonal museum and open on the weekends only. Be sure to check out their website before for any updates and follow them on social media!

*Image Citation - Dmoore5556, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Muskogee, OK

USS Batfish overhead

The USS Batfish rests at the Muskogee War Memorial Park in Muskogee Oklahoma. The Batfish is Oklahoma’s only submarine! Visitors coming to see the USS Batfish will quickly learn there is much more to this park than just the submarine. Visitors are treated to over 8 acres of land dedicated to military history. Aside from just a great day learning about the USS Batfish, visitors also have the opportunity to take part in overnight experiences or even host events on location. Be sure to check out the Muskogee War Memorial Park website and Facebook for more information. As usual, we recommend calling locations in advance if traveling from afar. 
 
USS Batfish (SS/AGSS-310), is a Balao-class submarine, known primarily for the remarkable feat of sinking three Imperial Japanese Navy submarines in a 76-hour period, in February 1945. USS Batfish is the first vessel of the United States Navy to be named for the batfish, a fish found off the coast of Peru, at depths ranging from 3 to 76 metres.
Originally to be named Acoupa, hull SS-310 was renamed Batfish on 24 September 1942 prior to its keel laying on 27 December 1942. The Batfish was constructed at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Kittery, Maine and launched 5 May 1943 sponsored by Mrs. Nellie W. Fortier; and commissioned 21 August 1943, with Lieutenant Commander Wayne R. Merrill in command.
(Source: Wikipedia)

Philadelphia, PA

Portland, OR

USS Blueback officers mess

The ship was decommissioned in October 1990. It was opened to the public in May 1994 at OMSI, and is on permanent display at OMSI’s dock on the east side of the Willamette River. Visitors can climb aboard the sub and experience what life was like for the 85 men who lived and worked on the boat. 40-minute tours occur throughout the day, and include a behind-the-scenes look at how a submarine dives, produces its own electricity and fresh water, and stays submerged for months at a time. Highlights of the tour include a look at the engine room, the radio room, the control room and attack center, the crew quarters, and the escape and torpedo-loading trunk. A more technical tour of the sub takes place on the first Sunday of every month. The purpose of the two-hour “Guided Tech Tour,” guided by an ex-submariner, is to give visitors a comprehensive technical look into the workings of the submarine. Kids can also spend the night onboard the sub, as part of OMSI’s camp-in program. Students from elementary through middle school sleep in the crews’ bunks, after they explore the control room, peer through a periscope, check out the engine room and set a course to carry out a top-secret mission. The Blueback also features a volunteer HAM radio station (W7SUB) operated by retired Navy veterans. They communicate with other HAM radio operators throughout the world. OMSI hosts two memorials for submariners on eternal patrol. One is a permanent memorial plaque for submarine veterans of WWII and is located at the entrance to the ramp leading to the dock. The other is the propeller (screw) from the Blueback, surrounded by 67 bricks, each engraved with the name and date of a lost U.S. submarine. It is located on the river walkway in front of the museum. In 2014 OMSI’s sub volunteers were honored with an award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals (Oregon and SW Chapter) for their tireless dedication. (This description has been provided word for word courtesy of the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry)

Honolulu, HI

USS Bowfin Museum

Launched on the first anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Bowfin completed nine war patrols in two years of wartime duty. One of the top-scoring U.S. submarines of World War II, Bowfin is credited with sinking 16 Japanese vessels with a total tonnage of 67,882 tons. On a noteworthy patrol in November 1943, Bowfin sank 12 vessels, only five of which were officially credited to the boat. Rear Admiral Ralph W. Christie, Commander of the U.S. Submarine Force, Southwest Pacific, lauded Bowfin's crew's achievement. "They fought the war from the beginning to the end of the patrol." In further recognition, Bowfin was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for this patrol. Bowfin was the boat selected by Admiral Christie when he went on a war patrol, thus becoming the only U.S. Flag Officer to be aboard a submarine during combat. Bowfin was also awarded the Navy Unit Commendation and the Philippine Republic Presidential Unit Citation for her wartime service. This included sinking a record number of ships, laying mines, rescuing downed aviators, and supplying Philippine guerrilla troops. At the war's end, Bowfin left Pearl Harbor for active duty with the Atlantic Fleet. She later served as a reserve training boat in Seattle, Washington, until her decommissioning in 1971. Today, Bowfin is back at Pearl Harbor berthed at USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park, fully restored in her World War II configuration. The park, located next to the USS Arizona Memorial Visitor Center, incorporates the new Pacific Fleet Submarine Museum (opening early in 2021), outdoor exhibits, and a waterfront memorial to the 52 U.S. submarines lost during World War II. USS Bowfin is a National Historic Landmark. (Description has been provided courtesy of the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park)

Galveston, TX

USS Cavalla and USS Stewart

Located on Pelican Island just north of the main island, the Galveston Naval Museum houses the USS Cavalla, a decommissioned submarine, one of the most accomplished World War II vessels open to the public today, and the destroyer escort USS Stewart, once the presidential escort and the last of its class in the world. Both vessels are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Touring both the USS Cavalla and the USS Stewart, you'll learn what sailors and submariners ate, where they slept, and how they worked together as a fighting force on the Atlantic and under the Pacific. Visitors to the museum on Seawolf Park can round out a tour of the sub and the destroyer escort with fishing in the bay or playing in the park. Hours vary for different activities, so use the information below to plan your trip to this incomparable and fascinating exhibit of American nautical history. We are more than a WWII museum. We are an educational center and unique venue for sleepovers, private events and special occasions. Our Mission: To PRESERVE the historic integrity and authenticity of our ships. To REMEMBER and HONOR our Greatest Generation who sacrificed so much for our enduring freedom. To EDUCATE all generations about American history, U.S. Navy heritage and innovation, and the courage of our military heroes and their families. (Description has been provided courtesy of Galveston Naval Museum)

Mt Pleasant, SC

USS Clamagore

USS Clamagore (SS-343) is a Balao-class submarine, presently a museum ship at the Patriot's Point Naval & Maritime Museum outside Charleston, South Carolina. Built in 1945 for the United States Navy, she was still in training when World War II ended. She was named for the clamagore. A National Historic Landmark, she is the only known surviving example of a GUPPY type submarine. Clamagore was built by Electric Boat Co. in Groton, Connecticut near the end of World War II. She was launched on 25 February 1945 and sponsored by Miss Mary Jane Jacobs, daughter of Vice Admiral Randall Jacobs and commissioned on 28 June 1945, with Commander S.C. Loomis, Jr., taking command. Clamagore was decommissioned on 12 June 1975 and stricken on 27 June 1975 after having served in the Navy for thirty years. She was donated as a museum ship on 6 August 1979. Clamagore arrived at Patriot's Point Naval & Maritime Museum, Charleston, South Carolina in May 1981, where she was moored as a museum ship along with aircraft carrier Yorktown and destroyer Laffey. Clamagore was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and designated a National Historic Landmark on 29 June 1989. According to the South Carolina Department of Archives and History, Clamagore "is now the only surviving GUPPY type III submarine in the United States. She represents the continued adaptation and use of war-built diesel submarines by the Navy for the first two decades after the war." The GUPPY conversion submarines constituted the bulk of the nation's submarine force through the mid-1960s. On January 10, 2017 the Palm Beach County Commissioners voted unanimously to approve funds for the vessel to be sunk as an artificial reef. On 16 April 2019 a group of retired submariners sued the State of South Carolina to save the Clamagore. In early 2020, the museum formed a plan to sink Clamagore at the Vermilion Reef site before the 2021 hurricane season. (Source: Wikipedia)

Manitowoc, WI

Cleveland, OH

Buffalo, NY

San Diego, CA

Mobile, AL

New York, NY

Fall River, MA

Omaha, NE

San Francisco, CA

North Little Rock, AR

Pittsburgh, PA

USS Requin

Commissioned on April 28, 1945, as a Standard Fleet Submarine, Requin made its first journey to Hawaii to join the Pacific Fleet at Balboa. Arriving at Pearl Harbor in early August of the same year, the submarine prepared for its first war patrol. In port at Pearl Harbor Naval Base when World War II ended, Requin departed and headed west for Guam. The submarine was recalled to Pearl Harbor on October 26, 1945, with ultimate orders to sail to Staten Island, NY. The USS Requin continued to serve all the way until it was struck from the naval registry in December of 1971. Today, Requin serves a very different purpose, educating hundreds of thousands of visitors about life and science aboard a submarine in the mid-20th Century. Preserved within her 312-foot-long hull is the technology of a bygone era; she is a far cry from the sleek nuclear-powered behemoths that now patrol our seas. (Description has been sourced with persmission from the Carnegie Science Center website)

Baltimore, MD