We spent Spring Break 2017 on Edisto Beach, South Carolina. Edisto Beach is a small (very very very small) beachfront community. I wouldn't call it a town or a city. It's a collection of vacation homes, some permanent residents, and NO STOPLIGHTS. When he was a small child, my husband spent a few summers on Edisto vacationing with his grandparents. One of the memories he shared with us prior to our vacation was a day trip to Patriots Point. He vividly remembers seeing the USS Yorktown and wanted our kids to have a similar experience/memory.
Patriots Point was kind enough to host us for the day, and we drove the 45 miles from Edisto Beach to Mt. Pleasant which is just across the harbor from Charleston, SC.
Upon arrival it's hard to miss the USS Yorktown.
She is named after the Battle of Yorktown of the American Revolutionary War. And if you know me, you know I am a HUGE Hamilton fan. Therefore it was only fitting that I wore my "Guns and Ships" shirt which is the song where Lafayette explains how he is going to go to France for more funds and comes back with more guns, and ships, and how the balance shifts. This leads to the 1781 Battle of Yorktown, led by Hamilton, in which the Patriots WIN and the British surrender. The Revolution is over.
Okay, back to Patriots Point.
This was the first time the #TampaTrio had seen a warship. They had NO IDEA how big these ships actually are. They were so surprised that the ship was like a mini town! In fact, this ship could probably house more people than Edisto Beach!
I found it very interesting that the Yorktown was the recovery ship for the Apollo-8 astronauts!
They even had an Apollo 8 replica that the kids were able to go in to experience what it was like to orbit the moon and crash back to Earth.
You can click HERE to see the video Ronin took while he was sitting inside the capsule.
On the hanger deck, each kid had the opportunity to sit in a F9F Cougar fighter jet. That was pretty cool.
And then we went below deck. The kids were amazed by the sleeping areas, the kitchen, the dental office, and the brig.
I think they forgot about someone and left him in the brig for just a bit too long!
I found a bunk where a navy man had left his mark! I can't imagine sleeping over 2 years on this ship or this bunk.
And imagine being a cook on this ship! Check out this recipe!
That's a lot of eggs!!
The flight deck was pretty incredible. The views went on forever!
Ella and I climbed up to the bridge and she sat in the Captain's chair!
But unlike when James visited Patriots Point more than 35 years, there is much more to do now than "just" the USS Yorktown.
There is also the USS Laffey, which is the ONLY Sumner-class surviving destroyer ship in North America. The USS Laffey was commissioned and supported the DDay landings at Normandy June 1944. My grandpa fought at DDay.
After her time in Europe, she was sent to the Pacific Theater where off the coast of Okinawa, she was attacked by 22 Japanese bombers and Kamikaze, killing 32 and wounding 71 of the 336-man crew. The heroic crew shot down 9 Kamikaze aircraft and saved the damaged ship. This earned her the nickname "The Ship That Would Not Die." There is an interactive exhibit Mount 53 which gives the visitor the experience of what it was like on the April 16, 1945 kamikazse attack. The trio did this, James and I did not. Ella was impressed by how realistic it was. She said it was so loud.
Click HERE to see a video and explore the USS Laffey.
And then we went on a submarine!!
It was the first time any of us had been on a sub. And let me say....submarines are not made for fluffy people, or tall people or people who don't like very small spaces. So....this was a little difficult for me. I had a hard time breathing and felt like the walls were closing in on me.
But it was really interesting and I'm glad I can cross that off my bucket list.
But we're still not done!! Patriots Point recently opened a brand new exhibit about the Vietnam War. I fully admit...I do not know much about the Vietnam War and this exhibit taught me a lot!
Set in a "Brown Water Navy" support base and a U.S. Marine Corps artillery fire base during the Tet Offensive and the Battle of the Khe Sanh in 1968. There are more than a dozen components that simulate life during wartime.
Ronin and I had a talk before we went into the exhibit because he often does not do well with loud noises, but he said he'd be okay, and I trust him to know when he's uncomfortable and needs to leave. He did fine. But other Autistic kids might not do as well, so just make sure you have those conversations beforehand.
While they enjoyed walking from hut to hut what they enjoyed the most was the military car.
James and I were both very impressed by the exhibit. It was very well done.
We all really enjoyed our experience and I'm so glad my husband suggested that we make a visit to Patriots Point.
If you go, this is what you need to know:
- Open 364 days per year. Only closed on Christmas Day. Other Holidays have reduced hours, so make sure you check before you go.
- Open from 9am-6:30pm
- Only the USS Yorktown is accessible for visitors in wheelchairs.
- Parking is $5
- Admission is $22 for adults, $17 for seniors over age 62, $14 for children ages 6-11, children under 6 are free as are active duty military in uniform.
If you are planning a trip to Charleson, SC I highly recommend you take a few hours and visit Patriots Point.
Have you ever toured an aircraft carrier, destroyer, or submarine??