We love being Winter Texans! We have been doing it long enough that we have favorite haunts that we take the kids to, and favorite areas that we like to visit every single year. This year we are getting to delve a bit into new territory, and rediscover some of these favorite places, like the USS Lexington, through new eyes – those of grandparents sharing them with our grandbabies!!! And we must say, this traveling with grands trumps traveling with our own kids! lol.
Multi-generational travel has become a bit of a buzz phrase. We just never paid any attention to it before because it wasn’t something we did. Until now. This year, Hannah brought her 2 boys down to visit us in Texas, and we took them to the USS Lexington! Even tho our visit was cut short by weather, it was so fun to explore the aircraft carrier through a new view – that of doting grandparents getting to share one of our favorite destinations with some of our favorite little people!
We love the USS Lexington – it’s a great historical destination for all ages, and it’s affordable for families.
The USS Lexington is situated on the bay in Corpus Christi, and is right next to the Texas State Aquarium.
For this visit, we took our own kids (still at home), as well as our 2 grandsons (ages 2 and 4) (and their parents, but they don’t count! lol).
It was so much fun to experience the Lexington with them, and to show them around one of the historical destinations that we love – one that all their aunts, uncles, and mom have been to over the years of our traveling fulltime in an rv.
It was like rediscovering the Lexington all over again; seeing it through fresh eyes!
And it was the perfect destination to take them since it appeals to everyone!
There are a ton of photo op/climb on opportunities for kids in the hanger deck so the boys got their wiggles out while we got some fun photos of them.
The Lexington was perfect for taking the grands too – lots of buttons and switches to push and pull and pretend with, a common interest to connect with, and a memorable stop making it a special trip with Grampa!
Caleb and our oldest grandson are the best of friends (well, until they have been neighbors all summer, then they start fighting like brothers! lol.). They did everything together while the grands were down here!
The exhibits begin before you even get to the carrier. The boys loves this Blue Angel down by the beach, at the entrance to the USS Lexington.
There is quite a little walk up to the ship ,but it’s not very steep, and there are shuttles that run all day that will give you a lift up or down.
In the Lexington, there is a fun little cafe. The food prices weren’t too bad, but the drinks make up for it. $3 for a bottle of water (needles to say, we were pretty thirsty by the time we left. lol.)
There are exhibits both inside and outside, so ‘The Blue Ghost’ is a great destination no matter the weather! There are several aircraft on the hanger deck.
And one of our favorite parts, the theatre! They movies change periodically, so even if you’ve been here before, there might be something new playing. All the movies are in 3-D. Currently the movie is Rimfire; Navy sea games (mock war). We found it fascinating! The movies are about half an hour, and are included in your admission ticket (you don’t have to pay extra to view the movie). The film is not about the Lexington, so feel free to watch it anytime (don’t feel like you have to hit it first like it usually best if you are visiting a national park…).
There are a lot of interesting exhibits! We found this digital Pearl Harbor bombing exhibit very educational, and it really explained how everything played out on the morning of Dec. 7, 1941.
This ‘Knot Thinkin” exhibit was a fun hands-on for the kids (of all ages 😉 )…
There were multiple stations, and each one taught how to tie a different knot! It was very well done, and there were ropes there attached to each station so that the kids could practice tying that knot…
I suppose a lot of people would find the berth bunks to be anything but roomy. Our kids felt right at home. 🙂
Up on the deck, there are over a dozen aircraft, each with an informative plaque telling about the aircraft.
The obligatory ‘any ship we are on’ picture….
Aircraft the kids could get into!
And these guns off the main deck (the entrance is at the corner of the ship closest to the entry ramp). These were probably the favorite spot of the entire ship – one of the sets of guns you could still move and crank back and forth and up and down. On the right gun (the one Joel, in the green shirt is in), there was a foot petal that when pressed, sounded like gun fire (tho thankfully muted. 😉 ). The kids were on here for quite some time!
The USS Lexington just opened a brand new exhibit: The Heart of Every Ship. The exhibit focuses on the ship’s engine room.
We missed it by just a few days, so we’ll have to go back! (bummer, eh? 😉 )
Things you should know about visiting the USS Lexington, and tips for making your day enjoyable!
*Parking is in paid lots; expect to pay anywhere from $3 to $5 for a spot. Our favorite ‘regular’ vehicle lot is right across from the gangplank up to the ship – just don’t forget to buy an exit token ($3.50) from the gift shop before you leave the Lexington.
*RV parking is available under the harbor bridge (but we dropped our 5er at the Walmart in Portland because we weren’t sure if we could park it near the carrier).
*The exhibits are both indoor and out, so wear layers. In cool weather, the theater and lower deck feel warmer being out of the elements, while in hot weather, the lower decks feel cooler out of the sun’s rays.
*The diner has food and drinks, but the bottled water is pretty pricey. Outside drinks are not allowed, so just make sure you don’t go in already thirsty! lol.
*When you purchase your ticket, you will receive a map of the different self-guided tours; save that for reference! There are several tours, and it’s best to do them in order so you don’t miss anything.
*This is a military vessel, not a cruise ship. Not all areas are stroller or wheelchair friendly. There is an elevator that does allow access to more areas of the ship; the main deck and the hanger deck are accessible for both, and there is still a lot to see there!
*Schedule a MINIMUM of 2 hours for the ship (we can spend the entire day there! lol)
*Be sure to check out the new film Aircraft Carriers: Guardians of the sea, which is about ‘Rimfire’, which are Navy war games. This 3-D movie plays on the hour, every hour from 11 to 4. There are 2 different versions of the movie, one is 25 min. long, while the other is 45 minutes – which one you get to see is a mystery! lol. (in other words, nobody could tell me how it is determined which one shows when…)
*Bring your quarters and shiny pennies – there are a dozen pressed pennies available for making at the carrier!