USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum – San Diego, CA

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B- was underway part of the time I was in California, so with the day to ourselves, H- and I decided to tour the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum.  H- hadn’t been yet, so this was a brand new experience for the both of us.

I knew what an aircraft carrier was and I had seen them in pictures, but nothing prepares you for the enormity of seeing one in person for the first time.  I couldn’t get the entire thing in the same frame from the ground, no matter how far I walked away.  Then, stepping inside hanger deck was overwhelming as I saw hundreds of people milling around comfortably and entire planes sitting in the deck with plenty of room to spare.

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H- and I picked up our audio tour headsets, picked a random starting point (there are numerous ways to begin and no wrong way to go about the tour), and descended down into the bowels of the ship.  It’s a good thing the paths were clearly marked because otherwise I would have gotten completely turned around.  Corridor after corridor, bulkhead after bulkhead, everything looked exactly the same.  It reminded me of an episode of NCIS that I watched once where the team was investigating meth overdoses on a carrier and one of the characters, Kate, got completely lost more than once during the investigation.  I thought at the time that it was just a side plot for laughs, but I realized during this audio tour that it would be more than completely feasible.  Carriers are basically giant floating cities and it takes quite some time to get your bearings.  More than once during the tour H- and I would deep in the lower parts of the ship looking at crew quarters or engineering and we would suddenly end up back in the hanger level, not entirely sure how we made it there.

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After exploring the lower decks, H- and I returned to the hanger level where we visited the gift shop and climbed into different cockpits to take pictures (that should have been as fun as it was for women in their 20s, but we had a blast lol).  There were also several interactive flight simulators, which we forgoed to head to the flight deck instead.

The flight deck was as impressive as the rest of the museum, due to gorgeous views of the San Diego Bay and large aircraft gallery, which consisted of several restored aircraft going back to WWII.  I’m not an aviation expert by any means (nor do I have any desire whatsoever to become one), but it was still very interesting to see all of the different planes and the rest of the flight deck.

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We spent almost 4 hours on the ship and could’ve easily spent even more time had we not needed to pick the little one up from daycare.  Anyone interested in this kind of thing, even in the slightest, and headed to San Diego should block off as much time as possible for this historic museum to be able to absorb all it has to offer and explore all the nooks and crannies of the lower decks.

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