Now, I primarily went here to visit cousins I haven’t seen in a while. I’ve also been to San Diego numerous times in the past (though never via train until now). Even then, I haven’t experienced a lot of what San Diego has to offer, but I had the opportunity to go visit several places that I have never seen before.
I honestly didn’t really think about what I was going to go see in San Diego while I was in town. I pretty much just winged it and Googled TripAdvisor recommendations.
I decided to go visit this aircraft carrier museum because it was just down the road from where I rented my car, and it was near my hotel. After arriving in San Diego via Amtrak, I grabbed my car and headed straight here. I was stuck in traffic for a while because apparently it was a really popular day to go.
I’ve been on one other aircraft carrier before, and it was the Intrepid in New York City back when I was a senior in high school. I just remember seeing a bunch of planes, and that was my expectation for the U.S.S Midway. I didn’t realize that it’s a pretty educational experience on what life was like on the Midway. I made sure to do the audio tour primarily because it was free!
A good majority of the carrier is available for viewing with some parts are even complete with mannequins.
Life is challenging on board an aircraft carrier, and it was fascinating to see how they made it all work given the space constraints. A lot goes on, and I think after going through the Midway, I have a good sense of what needs to happen to run a ship of 5000+ people. It’s like a small city!
I learned that the Midway didn’t actually serve at the Battle of Midway, but rather, it is named after that battle. Interesting. It was commissioned just after World War II and Operation Desert Storm was its last taste of action.
There actually wasn’t as many planes as I thought, but I’m glad because that means that I didn’t get distracted at shiny things as much, haha.
A cool fact I learned is that the Navy usually flies in chaplains, where they can have services in the on-board chapel, pictured above. The helicopter that they bring them in is affectionally called the “holy helo”. Hahaha, that’s awesome! When I was in the chapel, I couldn’t help but wonder how many Catholic Masses were held in this room while the Midway was operational. After all, there is a small tabernacle behind the podium.
Ugh. The F-18. One of my favorite planes. Twin v-tails, man. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one with desert livery, and this was the only F-18 on the flight deck.
Some of the things offered that I didn’t experience include the audio tour for kids/students, flight simulators, movie showings, and the “island” (or the bridge). A lot of volunteers, most of whom are veterans, help provide in-depth explanations on various aspects of the aircraft carrier, but I didn’t sit and listen to a lot of these. I think some of the veterans were actually assigned to the Midway at some point, too!
I learned that parking at the Midway costs $10 in addition to the entrance fees. You can save $2 on the entrance fee by ordering your tickets online or being a AAA member (which I am!).
All in all, I highly recommend the U.S.S. Midway if you’re ever in San Diego especially if you have an appreciation for ships, planes, and naval military history.
I think I’ll try to go back in the future and check out the bridge and some of the other things I didn’t get to experience!