If you’ve got little ones tagging along with you wherever you go, the Submarine Force Museum in Groton makes for the perfect day trip. Both entertaining and educational, children will have a blast while simultaneously learning about the role that Connecticut has to play in protecting America.
Educate and Entertain
History is boring for a lot of kids, but the Submarine Force Museum brings history to life in such a way that your child won’t even realize that they are learning.
Instead, they will be enthralled in the mechanical and scientific wonders of submarines throughout the years. Hands-on activities, displays, and more will let your little one take a deeper look into just what makes a submarine and how they were used in the past compared to the roles they play today. The museum even offers scavenger hunts and activity packets to keep your child engaged and interested.
The museum contains exhibits, virtual tours, historical trivia, and articles that’ll wow and amaze children and adults alike. Within the museum you will see a number of small models of submarines, as well as a full-size replica of Bushnell’s Turtle, one of the first submersible crafts (originally built in Old Saybrook in 1775 as a means of attaching explosive charges to British Royal Navy ships in American harbors). It’s truly remarkable to think that more than 200 years ago we had a prototype of submarine, used in the American Revolution!
But of course, one of the main reasons that everyone loves a day at the museum is that it allows them to tour the USS Nautilus. This was the world’s first nuclear powered submarine, officially launched in 1954.
Eight short months after it was launched it became the first commissioned nuclear powered ship in the United States Navy. After it was decommissioned in 1980, it was brought to Groton where in 1985 it became a National Historic Landmark. Today, this history-making submarine can be walked through and toured, offering unique insights into what it would be like to man a submarine in the open ocean.
If You Want to Go
The museum is located on the Thames River at 1 Crystal Lake Road in Groton, and is open from 9am to 4pm every day excluding Tuesdays (when the museum is closed for the day). The best part about the museum? Admission and parking are free!
The museum expects that a self-guided tour through the museum and nautilus would take the average person anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half to complete (probably longer if you go with a gaggle of kids), so just make sure you plan your day accordingly. There is a list of FAQs that the museum has compiled; feel free to take a look before driving up to Groton for the tour.