Here is one of Philadelphia's foremost museums. The museum is full of small boats, exhibits on the sea, a great collection of ship models, and temporary exhibits. Learn about naval warfare, merchant ships, deep sea exploration, sea life, fishing, and much more. The biggest highlight is the cruiser USS Olympia.
The Olympia served as Admiral Dewey's flagship at the Battle of Manila Bay during the Spanish-American War of 1898. This was among the most lopsided naval victories in all history. The war marked America's rise as a great world power. No longer a supporting player on the world stage, America was one of the main actors.
Next to the Olympia is the World War II submarine USS Becuna. Touring this submarine will make one appreciate being here on dry land. This museum is one of Philadelphia's must-see attractions.
This museum we thought was good value for the money. It was $9 and it gave you access to both floors of the museum, as well as walking on a steel ship and a submarine. They had a variety of exhibits, such as famous female sailors, immigration, imports, and deep sea diving. They also had a little interactive exhibit area and a large boat that kids could play in. They had so many detailed models of all the ships and then some actual boats were inside on display. On the side there was a boat building area where you could observe how things are made.
We then went outside to view the ship and submarine which had tour routes marked with arrows on the floor. The submarine is really tight so don't go if you get nervous in small spaces. I was happy it was self guided as I always feel rushed and struggle to see everything when you are stuck to a group.
Best part of all? The museum was so quiet. There were no crowds on a Saturday! There was maybe 1-2 people on the boats with us at the same time.
The Independence Seaport Museum gives you a great opportunity to explore the USS Becuna, a submarine that saw action in the South Pacific and the Olympia, a steel warship from 1892. Get a sense of what naval life was like in earlier days!
The USS Becuna is a bit cramped, but kids will find it very easy to move around. Only the brave would explore the ocean's depths on one of these! Climb the decks of The Olympia and get a view of the waterfront from her decks! There is a special behind-the-scenes tour on the Olympia one Saturday a month.
Hours are 10am-5 pm daily except for Thanksgiving ,Christmas and New Years Day. The cost is $9 for adults; $6 for children 3-12 and $8 for seniors. The seaport is FREE on Sunday mornings from 10 am-12 Noon.
An interactive exhibit allows you to explore the science, history and art of boats and boat building.
Experiment with shapes, water and wind. Renew your acquaintance with displacement, gravity, buoyancy and the Bernoulli Principle.
Self guided tours are available of the cruiser Olympia (pictured here) and the submarine Becuna.