Until we visited the USS Alabama in Mobile, I had never been on a battleship before. And to be honest, I wasn’t sure I was going to be all the interested in it. But on our way to Dauphin Island for Spring Break, we decided to make an afternoon stop at the USS Alabama, and I enjoyed it so much more than I expected. From marveling at the sheer giganticness of the ship and the close quarters men had to live in, to seeing planes and the submarine, we really had a great time!
If you are looking for things to do in Mobile, AL, visiting the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park is a great option! Even if you have minimal interest in military-related things, there are still so many interesting things to see here, and it’s a really great family friendly activity in Mobile.
So here’s everything you need to know about visiting the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park — from what you can see to a few tips for your trip.
Where is the USS Alabama?
The USS Alabama is located in Mobile, Alabama at 2703 Battleship Parkway. This is just east of downtown Mobile in Mobile Bay, making this battleship easy to get to. It’s also easy to see if you are crossing the bay on I-10, so you’ll definitely know where you are going!
And it’s not just the battleship! Really this is an entire complex, with the battleship being the main attraction.
USS Alabama Cost and Hours
The USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park is open daily (except for Christmas) from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., with the last admission tickets being sold at 4:00 p.m.
General admission is $15 for adults and $6 for kids ages 6-11.
Check the USS Alabama website before you go of course, for possible updated hours or admission prices. (I certainly wouldn’t want to mislead you here if something changes and we don’t realize it!)
What to See at USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park
The USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park doesn’t just have the battleship — there are all kinds of other military vehicles and historical items to see, from a submarine (my favorite!) to airplanes to tanks.
When you are visiting the USS Alabama, you can plan to spend anywhere from two to four hours there, depending on your level of interest. We spent a little less than two hours touring, and definitely could have spent more time. There were huge chunks of the battleship we didn’t even get to! But we were there pretty close to closing time and needed to move a little more quickly than we might have otherwise. (Plus, in all honesty, our kiddo was ready to move on after what had already been a full day on the road; and if you have kids, you know how that goes!)
The USS Alabama battleship is obviously the main attraction here. “Mighty A” (a nickname for the USS Alabama) began as a WWII battleship, and was an essential part of the Pacific theater. In 1962, it was announced the USS Alabama would be scrapped, but Alabamians worked to instead install it as the centerpiece of a Veterans Memorial Park, which is where it is now.
Tours at the USS Alabama are self-guided, and there are three routes you can follow: Yellow, Green, and Red.
The Yellow Tour will take you through the main exhibits, officer’s quarters, and the outdoor gun turrets.
The Red Tour will focus a lot on the every day work of the crew, including the bakery, carpenter’s shop, barber shop, clothing stores and more.
The Green Tour focuses more on the military operations of the ship, including offices, the radio room, and the engine room as well as the sick bay.
You can do all three tours or just pick one depending on how much time you have.
The USS Drum is a submarine located in the park, and it’s actually the oldest US submarine on public display. Like the USS Alabama, the USS Drum was an important player in WWII.
The USS Drum is significantly smaller than the USS Alabama, so there is only one long hallway to follow. You’ll see torpedoes, the kitchens, quarters, offices…basically everything it took to keep the submarine running.
I found the submarine so fascinating! And considering how tight the quarters were, it’s crazy to think about large groups of full-grown men living there full time.
One thing to note: the USS Drum was definitely on the warm and stuffy side, so if you visit in warmer weather be prepared.
The USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park also has a big collection of wartime aircraft and other vehicles. A good number of them are housed inside, in the Medal of Honor Aircraft Pavilion.
The collection includes WWII planes, planes flown by the Tuskegee Airmen, a restored Marine One, and an interesting spy plane. They really are so fascinating, and I had no idea so many different kind of military planes existed with so many different designs. Plus, this is a great place to cool down from the heat.
Outside Artillery, Planes, and Memorials
The outside areas of the park are full of things to see, too (which also makes this a great area for kids to run around).
Outside you’ll find planes, tanks, artillery, and more ranging from WW11 to Vietnam and Desert Storm. There really are some absolutely amazing things out here — we especially enjoyed the planes — and there are plenty of places for good photo ops (like standing underneath the airplane wings).
There are also several memorials you can see outside, including a Korean War Memorial, a Vietnam War Memorial, and a Fallen Guardian Memorial.
Tips for Visiting the USS Alabama
Here are a few tips to make your visit to the USS Alabama battleship go a little smoother:
- Where comfortable shoes. You’ll likely be doing a good amount of walking, so be prepared.
- Be prepared for stairs. If you want to go down into the ship, there are steep ladder-like stairs that must be climbed. There are good handrails, and even children will likely be able to do these with the help of a parent, but be prepared. Those with limited mobility, may be limited in what they can see. But there is always the top deck that is accessible for almost everyone (and there’s lots to see just there!)
- Wear seasonally appropriate clothing, especially in the summer. The ship, and especially the submarine, can get stuffy and warm.
- If you are traveling with your pet, they actually have on-site kennels that are free of charge where your pet can stay while you visit. A $10 deposit is required for the lock and key, but you will be refunded when you return them.
It you are traveling through Mobile, we definitely recommend visiting the USS Alabama Battleship. Whether you love military history or feel pretty lukewarm about (which, let’s be honest, is where I am), it is still such an interesting site. The scale of the ship and several of the other wartime vehicles is stunning, plus you get some great views of Mobile Bay. It’s definitely worth a stop!