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 could be a very fun family activity.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.