At 887 feet (270 meters) in length, the USS Wisconsin is one of the largest battleships ever built by the U.S. Navy. The vessel first saw active duty in the Pacific in 1943 and was last used in a foreign war in Operation Desert Storm in 1991.
Today, the battleship Wisconsin is berthed on the Elizabeth River, next to Nauticus, a hands-on maritime center that covers more than 200 years of U.S. naval history. A self-guided tour of its decks is included with the price of museum admission. For an additional charge you can venture below deck on a guided tour.
Before boarding, familiarize yourself with its history by watching the short orientation film. It includes recollections of some of those who served aboard the USS Wisconsin.
To get a sense of its size and power, walk the decks and stand under the huge gun turrets that once fired massive armor-piercing shells. Step into the wardroom where officers once dined. The main deck is wheelchair accessible.
Check out the ship’s interior with a guided tour; there are two on offer. The Topside Tour includes the captain's cabin and sleeping quarters, the combat engagement center and the radio room. Along the route you’ll climb up four decks and squeeze into some small spaces, so you will need to be reasonably fit. The Main Street U.S.N. tour is a glimpse into what daily life was like for those who lived and worked onboard the battleship. It takes you to the library, bakery, laundry and doughnut shop, among other places.
The USS Wisconsin is open daily between Memorial Day (the last Monday in May) and Labor Day (the first Monday in September). For the rest of the year the museum is open every day except Monday. For pricing and scheduling of the tours visit the Nauticus website.