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Tuesday 1 January 2013

USS Hornet Museum

Time for a little more exploring around the Bay Area with the kids...

On Saturday we visited the USS Hornet Museum on Alameda Island. If you're not familiar with the Bay Area, Alameda is where much of the tv show Myth Busters is filmed. It sits in the Bay just off Oakland and boasts some pretty spectacular views over San Francisco. No myth busting for us on this visit but we did have a fun time.

Now I'm not going to claim to be an expert about, well... anything when it comes to ships. And I certainly know nothing about planes and helicopters. Or the armed forces. But I do know that when you add all of those things together you get a decommissioned aircraft carrier that makes for an interesting day out.

USS Hornet (CVS-12)

The USS Hornet had a pretty good career before becoming a museum. It saw action in World War II, the Vietnam War and the Apollo moon missions. I know what you're thinking... that last one sounds a little weird for a ship! The USS Hornet was responsible for the successful recovery of the Apollo 11 space capsule and the first men to walk on the moon, as well as the Apollo 12 capsule a few months later.

And of course, now USS Hornet plays host to thousands of visitors a year looking to to learn a little about its rich maritime history. And that includes us.

Here's a look at our day onboard USS Hornet...

USS Hornet (CVS-12)

We started off with a look around the Hangar Deck. Usually there would be a few aircraft on display here however they had mostly been moved up on to the flight deck in preparation for the following day's New Year's Eve party. Still on display in the Hangar Deck were, among other things, several planes (some in pieces) a space capsule, a flight simulator and this stage set up with one of the largest flags I've ever seen. The girls had fun pretending to give speeches at the podium. If only they were tall enough to actually stand behind it.

Future presidents? Oh, wait a minute... they're not American!

A space capsule

Watch out - it bites!

The girls loved the planes with faces

Up on the flight deck we checked out planes and helicopters. I have no idea what they all were but the girls and I liked this yellow one with the big propellor best.

We liked this yellow plane

Big helicopter with fold up blades

Kim and the girls with a plane

Navy helicopter

Watch out for flames coming out the back Kim!

After a walk around the flight deck we joined a docent led tour of the Island structure, that tall bit in the middle of the ship. The Island houses the Navigation Bridge, Flight Control, Signal Bridge, Captain's At-Sea Cabin and lots of other tiny rooms with radar screens, compasses, gauges, knobs and buttons. Lots of knobs and buttons! The Island also boasts a pretty spectacular view over San Francisco and the Bay.

The view from the top of the island structure

Knobs and buttons

Knobs, buttons and flashy lights

Taking a call from the captain

Hmm... what do these do?

Can we have door handles like these at home?

Radio equipment

I had to laugh when I overheard a mother explaining to her teenage children how to dial these rotary phones!

More things to control

Lola liked this gauge so much we got a little behind the tour while she looked at it

If I look close enough maybe I can work out what it does

Steering the ship

Captain Ava

Captain Lola

Dual captains of the ship

Another fun door 

Is she holding it up?

Back down on the flight deck we had more of a look around and took in the views over the city.

Little Navy plane

The girls and I with San Francisco in the background

Family shot

Ava took this one. Unfortunately at her height the city is blocked by the top of the railing!

Cranes on neighbouring ships

Neighbouring ships

Sister hugs

Ava checks out the landing lights

It was a little windy on the flight deck

The Island Structure

Once we'd checked out all there was to see on the flight deck we headed down stairs to the second deck. Here we found crew's berthing, officer's quarters, medical rooms, washrooms and officer's lounges. The girls liked walking through the funny shaped door ways in the corridors and seeing all the bunk beds in the crew's quarters, but they started feeling a little claustrophobic after a while and were keen to head back upstairs to the hangar deck. We left Kim to explore the second deck on his own while we made squished pennies and looked in the gift shop.

The doorways were fun to climb through

Lola was pretty pleased that she could stand in the doorways too

Can we get bunk beds like these?

More gauges and knobs

All too soon our day came to an end and it was time to say goodbye.


The sun's starting to set

Time to leave

Goodbye USS Hornet

1 comment:

  1. I served aboard U.S.S. Hornet CVS 12 1960 - 1961. Tell the girls I got to sleep in those bunks. My job was radioman. Sent and received communication for the ship by Morse code and flashing light. I do not believe they use that type of communication today. Steve


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