When my co-worker told me that we’re going on an aircraft carrier, it didn’t quite immediately click in my mind as to how large of a watercraft we would be visiting. After arriving at Patriots Point, I had a moment of just staring at the USS Yorktown in amazement at its size. It slowly sunk in that it was an aircraft carrier, as in, it carried aircraft… which meant it had to be big enough for planes to fit on—and take off from—it.
After entering, we spent some time just walking around the main deck and looking at all the aircraft.
Our first tour was named “Living & Working Spaces, and the Engine Room Experience” (which I think is fairly self-explanatory). This took us through the more “active” areas of the Yorktown so we could see what life was like aboard the watercraft when it was still in service.
Although this was nowhere near as cramped as the submarine, it’s still impressive how people would be able to live on the watercraft for extended periods of time in such close proximity without going insane.
After completing the loop of the first tour, we returned to the main deck and looked at some more aircraft and other exhibits on our way to the entrance to the second tour.
The second tour was called “The Flight Deck & Bridge.” After navigating through a short path, we made it out to the upper level of the aircraft carrier to actually see some of the aircraft that it was carrying.
I go into far greater detail about this in the blog post I already wrote covering the USS Clamagore and Laffey (and you should definitely read that if you want my thoughts), but in summary, this is how history should be taught. Walking through the USS Yorktown was an extremely intriguing and interesting experience, and as someone who has absolutely hated history classes in the past, I thought my visit to Patriots Point was a very valuable experience.
As I mentioned before, we had a late start to our day, so there were actually two entire tours aboard the USS Yorktown that we were unable to complete—the “Yorktown Wardroom, Catapult Room, & Brig” and “WWII Carrier Rooms.” In addition to that, my co-worker and I only got general admission tickets; there were also some upgrade options available, one of which was an add-on for a captain’s guided tour, and another one that included a five-minute flight motion simulator experience.
Charleston is fairly out of the way and I’m not sure if I’ll have a reason to return anytime soon, but if I do, I’m definitely making another stop at Patriots Point. Not only do I still need to actually finish seeing everything that the museum has to offer, but this is also one of those spots where having a prior visit under your belt will enhance your future visits and allow you to notice things the second time that you didn’t notice the first.
And with that, my time in Charleston comes to an end. I have a handful of pictures that I still want to post as a photo dump, but my journey now continues to the next destination.