Location: 100 Clinton Street, Camden, NJ
Hours: Varies by season. 9:30 – 5:30 April 30 – September 5
Transit: RiverLink Ferry
NOTICE: Disabled access very limited
One of the Camden Waterfront’s premier attractions, the Battleship New Jersey is the most imposing of the ships on the Delaware River. Prominently visible from Penn’s Landing, the 16-inch guns on the front of the ship make her one of the most powerful military vehicles in U.S history, if not the most. It’s the largest battleship ever constructed, and served in World War II. From then she fought battles in the Pacific, including the Battle of Okinawa. From then she was brought back into service in Korea and Vietnam, and was finally decommissioned in 1991 before becoming a museum on the Camden Waterfront in 2001. She holds the distinction of being the most decorated battleship in the history of the U.S Navy.
For visitors, there is a choice between a self-guided or guided tour. The former includes an audio tour, which is essential to a visitor. You walk down a short pier with the immense battleship looming overhead, adding a sense of intimidation to the aura of power felt throughout the ship. The tour is extensive and covers many of the ship’s fascinating features.
One of the most memorable features along the ship’s exterior are the massive 16-inch guns, which are among the largest ever used by U.S Military. At the front of the ship is the anchor, which is held by a massive chain. There are a few guns mounted at the front, which visitors can hold and move.
The first interior room visitors see is where the sailors would sleep, in very tight beds. On the contrary, the Admiral’s and Captain’s Staterooms are spacious and have furnishings. Other rooms used in the daily lives of sailors include the barbershop, laundry room, the galley, and the chapel. Visitors can see the bridge, directly above the 16-inch guns. The higher points of the exterior provide great views of Philadelphia. One room that’s particularly interesting has computers from the 1980s, when this technology was brand new.
The tour concludes at the Battleship New Jersey Museum, which shows various exhibits related to the New Jersey, World War II, or the Navy in general. There are exhibits on the history of the Battleship, one of which is a timeline, the other of which is about the ship’s construction, and its connection to the people of New Jersey. One compares battleships from both sides during World War II, proving once again that the New Jersey was the world’s greatest. Another exhibit covers the Admiral William Halsey, a New Jersey native himself, and his career during World War II.
Admission for a self guided tour is $22 for adults, and $17 for children and seniors. The guided tour is $30 for adults, and $25 for children. However, you can also buy a “Fish and Ship” pass, that grants a self-guided tour here and admission to Adventure Aquarium. That’s $37 for adults and $26 for children. The latter is highly recommended. The Battleship New Jersey has a flight simulator near the visitor center, which is $6, or $5 if you already bought tour tickets. There is a gift shop, selling various memorabilia, and a cafeteria in the ship’s galley, which is a nice touch.
It’s in Camden, which for many, makes this trip rather iffy. Camden’s reputation is much more negative than positive. However, you should not have any concerns with the Battleship. Every city has its best part, and the Waterfront is Camden’s. The Battleship is near the Riverlink Ferry, at Adventure Aquarium. However, unlike Adventure Aquarium, it doesn’t have much in the way of parking. Also, it is not advisable to leave the Waterfront, or do any exploring in Camden. Also be wary that the Battleship has very steep ladders that need to be climbed.
There’s a really loud audio that plays around the ship, which is both super loud and startling. You can probably hear that at Penn’s Landing. (-1)