For most, life at sea is only something to be imagined: sleeping in a bunk as the waters rock below; gathering in small quarters for carefully portioned meals, and maintaining extraordinary engines that hum day and night.  


  But less than an hour’s drive from Boston, families can explore the deep bunks and wide decks of some of the most impressive and experienced ships in the world. Battleship Cove, located in Fall River, boasts the world’s largest collection of preserved US Navy ships.


  The fleet includes five National Historic Landmarks: Battleship USS Massachusetts, Destroyer USS Joseph P. Kennedy,  Jr., Submarine USS Lionfish, and PT Boats 617 and 796. Individually, each ship represents different moments in history and technical achievements; collectively, these vessels symbolize American sacrifices made in defense of our freedom.


  “Each ship is a museum in itself,” says Cristoff Shay, director of communications & visitor experience at Battleship Cove. “Where else are you going to be able to climb and explore World War II ships and beyond? We still have WWII vets volunteering on our ships.” 





  Shay lists the Lionfish as one of the must-sees. “It’s quite an experience to go onboard and explore a vessel that was many feet below the ocean. You can see just how small the sleeping and eating quarters really were. Our servicemen went above and beyond.”


5 Things You Don’t Want to Miss






See what Battleship Cove is All About

1. Family Nautical Nights (next one is Sept. 12)


  If your family is seeking a different kind of experience to enjoy together, the Nautical Nights Program is just what you’re looking for! Explore every nook, cranny, and exhibit of the entire Battleship Cove fleet; sleep in the same authentic bunks that the sailors slept in; learn how the sailors lived and worked on board, and enjoy a full dinner and breakfast in the Officer’s Wardroom. All included in the price of your stay, prices begin at $50 per person.


2. New Techy Tour Options 


  Battleship Cove may be an historical museum, but it uses the latest technology to enhance visitors’ experiences. Visitors can opt for a self-guided tour via their cell phone, and this fall graduates from Brown University are helping to launch a system using Bluetooth beacons. 


  “The system will be programmed to recognize devices using Bluetooth, and as visitors explore ships, messages will appear on their cell phone asking if they’d like to learn more about what they are currently looking at,” explains Shay. 


3. Marine Museum at Fall River


  Boasting an expansive collection of ship models, including a 28-foot model of the RMS Titanic, the museum champions and promotes the South Coast’s maritime identity. Be sure to check out their events calendar for kid-friendly activities — a Pirate Day is set for Sept. 13.


  Late last year, Battleship Cove and the Marine Museum, which are only a 1-minute walk from each other, formed an alliance allowing Battleship Cove to support the Marine Museum administration.


  “Battleship Cove is reinventing the waterfront of Fall River,” says Shay.  “It made sense that this jewel become part of the Battleship Cove family — it enhances both institutions.” Joint tickets are available to visit both museums at a discount. Visit marinemuseumfr.org for more information.


4. The Fall River Carousel 


  End your day with a ride on this historic, antique carousel open through October 10, (Wednesday – Sunday, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.) $2 per ride. Carousel # 54, as it was called, was built around 1919 during the “Golden Age” of wooden carousels. In 1920, the ride was shipped from Pennsylvania to Lincoln Park in North Dartmouth and resided there until the park closed in 1987. During its heyday, Lincoln Park attracted many celebrities of the time, including Eleanor Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy. Upon the park closure, and knowing the carousel needed a home, the community of Fall River rallied together to raise $250,000 to refurbish and bring her to Battleship Cove in 1991.


5. Get a peek inside the wooden Patrol Torpedo boats


  For the first time since the 1980s, visitors can finally see inside World War II vintage ships thanks to a new virtual tour option. “Visitors can scan the QR code and get to see inside and experience what life was like for sailors on this 80-foot boat.” PT Boat 796 was used during President Kennedy’s inaugural parade. While conservation restrictions have prohibited visitors from stepping onboard, Battleship Cove and technology found a cool way around that.


Upcoming Special Events


Pearl Harbor Experience


Weekends in September, Every hour from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.


Included in museum admission


  The attack on Pearl Harbor comes to life with state-of-the-art special effects, archive film, and surround-sound. The only outdoor reenactment of Pearl Harbor anywhere.


World War II Weekend


September 5 & 6


Included in museum admission


  History comes alive when World War II living historians arrive at Battleship Cove with an exciting display of equipment, artillery, and vehicles. Get a chance to talk with veterans and relive the history of the Greatest Generation.


Marine Museum at Fall River, Pirate Day


September 13, 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.


Included in museum admission


  Arrgh! Calling all mates for a fun-filled day of piracy! Activities and pirate songs for kids.


Marine Museum at Fall River, Teacher's Social


September 26, 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.


Reservations can be made at 


508-674-3533.


  Calling all educators: Join the staff of the Marine Museum and Battleship Cove to see what the museums have to offer students and learn how these historic museums can support education efforts.