Want an impressive selfie?
How about you standing proudly on the deck of the battleship that led the American fleet into Tokyo Bay on September 5, 1945?
Or maybe you hunkered down in the torpedo room of a submarine credited with sinking 15 enemy vessels in the greatest war ever waged?
A little more than an hour from Eden, the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park includes both the noteworthy battleship as well as the USS Drum, a decorated 311-foot submarine.
The park also includes dozens of military airplanes and other vehicles, as well as artifacts and memorials. Admission ranges from free to $15.00, with an additional fee for parking. The park is open every day of the year except for Christmas.
The USS Alabama was commissioned in 1942 for duty in World War II. In 1965, it became the centerpiece of the memorial park near Mobile. More than 15 million people have visited the park since it opened.
The ship—often referred to as "The Mighty A"—began its service in the North Atlantic and went on to fight in the Pacific Ocean. The 680-foot battleship was home to 2,500 personnel at the height of the war. Through the course of the conflict, the Alabama earned nine battle stars.
While on your self-guided tour, you can sit in a turret where a sailor once took aim at his adversaries. You can lay in that sailor’s bunk, hung three deep off a bulkhead, and see the galley where he ate his meals.
While traditional books, photos and videos are great ways to learn the basic dates, places and people of history, visiting a facility like the Alabama puts you in the scene. You can feel the close-quarters of a vessel of war, the lack of personal space and the overall sacrifice the sailors endured.
Touring the Drum really drives home the intimacy of a war ship. You can walk the entire length of the submarine, many times using the only pathway between the two ends. Equipment is everywhere. Carrying a complement of 80 personnel, the environs must have been acutely claustrophobic.
In addition to the war ships, the park features the Medal of Honor Aircraft Pavilion, a hangar filled with historic aircraft, vehicles and artifacts. Chief among the park’s aircraft is the A-12 Black Bird, a supersonic, high-altitude plane used by the CIA at the height of the Cold War. The pavilion also boasts the Marine One Bell helicopter used by Presidents Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan and the elder Bush.
Dozens of aircrafts, from World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the Cold War, are also on display on the grounds of the park.
The Medal of Honor Aircraft Pavilion, which houses a monument to all of Alabama’s Medal of Honor recipients, also serves as a venue for various public events. On Veterans Day every year, the Mobile Symphonic Pops Band performs a concert of patriotic and other American music standards. That free concert is scheduled for 6 p.m. on November 11, 2021.
There's so much to do on and around our 16-miles-long island paradise, there's no way you can experience it all in just one stay. To help you make the most of your Eden vacation, we've picked a few of our favorite experiences that we hope will become precious memories for you too. If you have a question, or don't see what you're looking for, please let us know. We want to make sure that each memory of your Eden vacation is truly magical.