This 893-foot-long ship docked in Alameda has soldiered through WWII, the Vietnam War, and early moon missions, but kids will be more interested in all the fancy valves and switches in the Engine Room and the fact that it has its own bakery. Much of the vast warship is available to explore on a self-led or guided tour, so set aside a couple of hours to come on board the Hangar Deck. Just be sure to hold the children’s hands because little ones may get lost in the many intricate passages.
Go: The floating museum is open daily year-round except during private events and holidays. Hours are 10:00 am – 5:00 pm.
Approximate travel time: 20-minute drive from Berkeley, and about 15 minutes from the Bay Bridge, sans traffic.
What to see: Play captain from the Control Room and check out the Landing Area, big enough for an airplane. In addition to the ship’s decks and the aircraft exhibits, there’s a museum store on the Hangar Deck, the museum’s main floor.
Possible lunch spots: Kid-friendly restaurants on the island include Speisekammer, Tomatina, and La Penca Azul. Afterwards, hit up Tucker’s or Loard’s Ice Cream for dessert.
How to dress: Wear comfortable shoes and layers. Even on a mild day, the interior of the ship may be cold.
Need to know: Navigating through the ship will require climbing and descending a bunch of ladders. Be prepared to be on your feet much of the time, keeping in mind that baby carriers and backpacks of all kinds are not allowed on board.
Bonus: Come on the 1st Sunday of the month and visit one of the largest antique fairs in the Bay, the Alameda Antiques Faire, also on Alameda Point. Wanna see more old ships? Check out Hyde Street Pier next.
Cost of trip: $5-$15; Ages 4 and under are Free.
-Renee Macalino Rutledge