Filed under: Family Day Trips, Historic Places & Landmarks, RV Home School
USS TEXAS Battleship
When on a long road trip, finding interesting places to visit on the way to our goal can be a great morale booster. One of the ways that we keep our kids happy while we are traveling is to make sure that we stop now and again, for a break, at somewhere fun. Even if it takes us a little longer to get to our destination, it is worth the delay for us to all arrive in good spirits! Before our trip, we often find a few interesting-looking sites that are on the way to our destination, and we have the kids investigate (on-line) either before the trip, or while we are driving. When the kids are in charge of figuring out if it is a worth-while stop, they are more invested in it, both because they suggested taking the time to stop, and also because they know that we have limited camping funds. When it is their decision on whether or not to spend money and time there, they are much less likely to blindly say, “Yeah, let’s go” to every little tourist trap.
One of the fun stops that we just did, was to visit the USS Texas, located just east of Houston, Texas. It is the last remain ‘dreadnought’ in the world. The dreadnoughts were big-gun battleships built at the beginning of the 20th century. Commissioned in 1914, Battleship Texas is the last surviving US naval ship that served in both World Wars. The state of Texas saved her from being used as a bombing target, and she is currently part of the Texas park system.
Battleship Texas was a fun stop for everyone in the family. We chose to self-guide ourselves through the ship, but there are also free hourly tours available. The main deck still has all of her armament in place, and many of the guns the kids could get on and crank to operate. They had a lot of fun working together to aim at a target, with one cranking to move the gun horizontally, while the other was moving the gun vertically.
Below, on the second deck, nearly the entire floor was open to the public. Many of the rooms were furnished and had plaques describing their use. The park offers ‘hard hat tours’ of the battleship; they are given one day a month, during the winter months- if you are truly interested in WWII, this may be a great event to schedule your trip around.
Right across the street is the San Jacinto Monument, where the final battle in the Texas War for Independence happened. At the San Jacinto Monument, we watched the movie ‘Texas Forever’, which told the story of the battle that happened there; how Santa Ana was surprised by Sam Houston and his men, was captured, and surrendered. The beautiful monument erected there is 570 feet tall (3 feet shorter than the USS Texas on end), and is topped by a 220 TON star. There is an observation deck near the top of the monument that is accessed by elevator (must buy tickets).
Located just minutes south of I-10, it is an easy on-the-go stop. We enjoyed self-touring the ship, and watching the movie at the monument. It was a perfect ‘stretch your legs’ stop, and a great place to get an inside glimpse to the lives of WWII soldiers. We love it when we find fun on the road stops – they make the trip to and from our destination much more enjoyable!