Things to Do In New Jersey – Visit the Battleship New Jersey!
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One of the items on our family’s list of “things to do” this summer was to visit the Battleship New Jersey on the Camden waterfront. (Looking for a deal on admission to the Battleship New Jersey? Click HERE to save 50%!) This is a site of great historical significance to the state of New Jersey, due to the military role that the Battleship has played as our nation’s most decorated battleship as well as to the economic role it played in the lives of New Jerseyans, as it was built at the nearby Philadelphia Navy Yard where many South Jersey residents were employed during the height of its activity in the 1940s. One sunny day in July, we got a chance to visit.
The first thing we were struck by as we approached the ship was the sheer size of the “Big J” – the Battleship is nearly three football fields long and the exterior decks cover 9 acres of area! We were also impressed to learn that the Battleship New Jersey is the most decorated battleship in US history, boasting 19 battle stars as well as numerous other citations and medals.
As we walked the ship, we were able to fully immerse ourselves into what life on the Battleship New Jersey was like. We visited sleeping and eating quarters, viewed areas of importance to the daily lives of a sailor (the mailroom, barbershop, medical and dental facilities), and learned the history of the Battleship through educational and interactive exhibits along the way. Some of the highlights of our visit to the Battleship New Jersey were:
- The enlisted men’s sleeping area (the boys got to “try out” a bunk)
- The Admiral’s Cabin
- The Combat Engagement Center (sit at radar and sonar tracking stations while videos show the launch of Tomahawk missiles)
- The Officers’ Wardroom (or “Officers’ Club”)
- Climbing into the 16” gun turret and learning how the projectiles were loaded
- Dining in the Mess Hall
The docents on board the ship were extremely helpful and informative. Many of them have actually served on the Battleship New Jersey, giving visitors the opportunity to experience “living history” through their experiences that they are happy to share.
Visitors to the Battleship New Jersey can also experience the thrilling “Seahawk: Battle for Iwo Jima” via a 4D Flight Simulator. Virtual fighter pilots are “launched” off the Battleship’s deck in a Curtiss SC-1 Seahawk propeller plane, fly over Iwo Jima, avoid anti-aircraft fire, engage in a dog fight with Japanese aircraft, and land in the ocean next to the Battleship New Jersey.
In addition to touring the ship, the Battleship New Jersey occasionally offers other fun things to do including special events such as World War II Victory Day, fireworks viewing aboard the ship on holidays such as the Fourth of July and New Year’s Eve, and family sleepovers. The ship also offers sleepover opportunities for school and scout groups.
Things to know prior to your visit to the Battleship New Jersey:
- Due to tight spaces, narrow doorways, and steep steps, strollers are not permitted on the Battleship (there is an off-ship storage area for strollers). Visitors with babies are encouraged to use front carriers.
- For the same reasons that strollers are not permitted, only the Main Deck of the Battleship New Jersey is handicapped-accessible. The ship does have a climate-controlled viewing room on the Main Deck where visitors can watch a continuous-loop video about the role of battleships in our nation’s history.
- Casual clothing and flat, non-skid walking or athletic shoes are recommended for your safety. Outdoor decks can become slippery if wet. Dresses, skirts, and high-heeled shoes are NOT recommended.
- There are restrooms at the landside Visitors’ Center and aboard the Battleship. However, the restrooms aboard the ship are few and far between. As a result, it is recommended that you use the landside restrooms prior to beginning your tour (particularly if you are visiting with young children).
- Days and hours of operation vary based on the season. Visit the Battleship New Jersey online for operating hours.
- The Battleship New Jersey is located on the Delaware River waterfront at 62 Battleship Place in Camden, New Jersey. Visit the Battleship New Jersey online or call (866-877-6262) for additional information regarding ticketing, hours, directions, or special events.
Other things to do in the area:
- Adventure Aquarium
- Camden Children’s Garden
- Walt Whitman House
- Camden Riversharks Baseball
- South Jersey Baseball Hall of Fame