Los Angeles, California, USA
- Museum ship: Visit the only battleship on the West Coast open to the public.
- Battleship of Presidents: This is one of the 20 attractions in Los Angeles and has hosted three Presidents - Franklin D. Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, and George H.W. Bush.
- Presidential tub: FDR, confined to a wheelchair, was unable to bathe standing up in the showers normally found on naval ships. So the Navy built this special bathtub reserved only for his use.
- Phalanx Weapon System: In the 1980s, the Iowa was armed with these Close-In Weapon Systems (CIWSs) to defend it from missiles, the crew nicknamed them "R2-D2s" because of their distinctive dome shape.
- 50-caliber projectiles: These high-capacity shells used for attacks on land are more than five feet long and capable of making a crater 50 feet wide and 20 feet deep. That's gonna leave a mark.
About this Los Angeles, California tour
"Iowa" might conjure up images of quiet cornfields and peaceful small towns, but the ship that launched an entire class of battleships made a lot of noise in its time. The blast from just one of its nine 16-inch guns shook its sailors to their bones, and hurled a shell the weight of a VW bus 24 miles. A broadside volley, all its guns firing at the same time, was a punishing ordeal that could leave its crew wobbly and disoriented, their ears not just ringing but clanging.
The punishment at the receiving end can scarcely be comprehended.
Iowa went on the drawing boards as the storms of war gathered over Europe and the Pacific; by the time it officially entered the fight, in February 1943, the world was engulfed. It ferried President Roosevelt across the U-boat-infested Atlantic to a conference with Churchill and Stalin in Tehran; guarded aircraft carriers and shelled Japanese-held islands in the Pacific; took two enemy artillery shells off the Marshall Islands and kept on firing; shot down three Japanese planes at the Battle of the Philippine Sea; bombarded the Japanese mainland; and steamed into Tokyo Bay with the USS Missouri, where Japan formally surrendered.
It had been a commissioned battleship for two and a half years.
Iowa would return to combat in the Korean War with devastating attacks on enemy troop concentrations and supply areas. It served through the Cold War and in the Persian Gulf War, and welcomed two more presidents before being decommissioned for good and turned into a museum. As you walk its passageways, peer into the crew's cramped quarters, climb up to the bridge, and inspect those massive guns, remember that, by law, Iowa could be returned to active duty at any time if needed. And as its current crew will assure you, there's plenty of fight left in the old girl.
Damn the torpedo
President Roosevelt's cruise aboard the Iowa was not without incident. During a routine drill, the destroyer USS William D. Porter accidentally launched a torpedo that exploded in Iowa's wake. (FDR had the Secret Service wheel him aft to watch.) Fearing an assassination attempt, the captain held the Iowa's fearsome guns on the destroyer until the facts became clear. That didn't stop the ship's whole crew from getting arrested - the first in the history of the U.S. Navy. And for the rest of the war, other ships would greet the Porter with the semaphore signal, "Don't shoot! We're Republicans!"
Please proceed to Pacific Battleship Center at 250 S. Harbor Blvd, San Pedro, CA 90731.
Strollers are not allowed on board the IOWA. There are several stairs and obstacles on the tour. Children may not be carried up stairs unless they are in a front-facing carrier. If they are not in a carrier and cannot climb the stairs safely on their own, then the child and a guardian must remain on the main deck of the ship. For small children, the use of a front carrier (Baby Bjorn-type carrier) is suggested.
Open 7 days a week from 10:00 am - 4:00 pm. Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas.
There are many obstacles on the ship such as uneven decking, high door frames and many sets of stairs that are safety hazards. For that reason, no wheelchairs are allowed aboard the ship and those using canes and walkers should use extra caution.
Adventure, Cultural, Family Friendly
Tour Participation Requirements
This experience is rated moderate. Full participation may require extended periods of walking over even and uneven surfaces, steep terrain and/or water activity in a slight current. There may be steps, inclines, cobblestone surfaces, and extended periods of standing. Participants with physical limitations should take this into account.
Suitable for all ages. Children 5 years of age and under participate free of charge.
Full refunds issued for cancellations made 7 full days prior to the date and time of requested services. Cancellations made within the 7-day and 72-hour window will receive a 50% refund of purchase total. Purchases are non-refundable inside of 72 hours.
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