front angle of the guns USS Battleship Iowa Museum in San Pedro

The USS Battleship Iowa, located in San Pedro harbor, is a unique Museum experience in Los Angeles, appropriate for families with kids of all ages. The museum offers self-guided tours, which are ideal for those families visiting with younger children who may need to go at their own pace, but they also have guided tours, which offer a more detailed view of the ship and its history. Depending on the ages of your kids and their level of interest in history, these guided tours would be a very fun family activity.

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USS Battleship Iowa Museum in San Pedro exterior of the ship

USS Battleship Iowa Museum in San Pedro exterior of the ship

linoleum floor decoration USS Battleship Iowa Museum in San Pedro

With young kids in mind, the Museum has designed a scavenger hunt with the ship’s mascot, Victory the Dog. This is a big hit with little ones, and some of us bigger ones, too.

Victory the Dog scavenger hunt USS Battleship Iowa Museum in San Pedro

Victory the Dog scavenger hunt USS Battleship Iowa Museum in San Pedro

My family and I visited the museum on a beautiful, sunny day in San Pedro, and we really enjoyed ourselves. I found the history of the ship fascinating, not to mention just the thought of so many people living and working together in such cramped quarters. My 14-year-old enjoyed the ship’s new VR experience, but some on our tour felt a little vertigo when trying it.

tour guide pointing out controls USS Battleship Iowa Museum in San Pedro

tour guide pointing out controls USS Battleship Iowa Museum in San Pedro

Navy signal flag key USS Battleship Iowa Museum in San Pedro

Navy signal flag key USS Battleship Iowa Museum in San Pedro

I will caution that this was a warship, and parts of the tour describe the battles she was part of, as well as the servicemen who fought and died aboard ship. For some this will be understood as simply being a part of history, but some parents may want to shield their young children from some parts of the history until an appropriate age. Please use your own judgement.

bunks for servicemen aboard USS Battleship Iowa Museum in San Pedro

bunks for servicemen aboard USS Battleship Iowa Museum in San Pedro

control room USS Battleship Iowa Museum in San Pedro

control room USS Battleship Iowa Museum in San Pedro

Executive Officers quarters USS Battleship Iowa Museum in San Pedro

Executive Officers quarters USS Battleship Iowa Museum in San Pedro

Roosevelts chair USS Battleship Iowa Museum in San Pedro

Roosevelt’s chair USS Battleship Iowa Museum in San Pedro

living quarters USS Battleship Iowa Museum in San Pedro

living quarters USS Battleship Iowa Museum in San Pedro

mess hall USS Battleship Iowa Museum in San Pedro

mess hall USS Battleship Iowa Museum in San Pedro

in memoriam USS Battleship Iowa Museum in San Pedro

in memoriam USS Battleship Iowa Museum in San Pedro

The Museum has an award-winning app with an interactive virtual tour, for those who want to check it out ahead of time, or who can’t make it in person.

front angle close up of the guns USS Battleship Iowa Museum in San Pedro

front angle close up of the guns USS Battleship Iowa Museum in San Pedro

Details: the USS Battleship Iowa is easy to find off the 110 freeway, with plenty of signs pointing out the way. Plus it’s a large ship, so once you’re close to the harbor, you should have a good visual on it and be able to “feel your way” there, if necessary. Once you’ve arrived, there’s ample (paid) parking right out front. Note that many of the interior hallways and stairways are narrow and steep, so it’s not possible to push a stroller on the entire tour; you may need to carry your tiniest ones.

USS Battleship Iowa Museum in San Pedro INFOGRAPHIC

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Sarah Auerswald is the co-Founder of MomsLA. She and her family were given a tour of the museum in order to write this review.

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Sarah Auerswald (605 Posts)

Sarah Auerswald is the CEO and Co-Founder of MomsLA. She writes about life in LA while raising her 2 sons and is the founder of MarVistaMom.com. She was an English Major at Brown University, and yet nowadays feels free to ignore grammar rules anytime she wants. Like Now. She's married, uses a Mac, and grew up in Hawaii.


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