Museum offers overnight stays on the USS Olympia

May 15, 2013 8:00:58 AM PDT
Ever wonder what life is like for sailors on board a warship? Well, now is your chance to find out.

For the first time ever, Independence Seaport Museum is offering overnight stays on the USS Olympia. The largest still floating steel warship in the world, she served as Admiral Dewey's flagship in the Spanish American War?.in a battle that made the U-S a world naval power.

Overnight on the Olympia, you can see where sailors slept at the the turn of the 20th century--nose to toes in hammocks and visit Admiral Dewey's personal quarters and get a lesson on just how the ship's big guns work.

Michael Flynn, Director of Education, Independence Seaport Museum said, "You can actually come with a Boy Scout or Girl Scout troop or even just families are welcome as well and actually spend the night on a very historic warship."

You'll learn about the Olympia 's coal powered engine... see the first ever fresh water cooler installed on a ship---nicknamed the scuttlebutt---and stand in the footsteps of the ship's Captain when Admiral Dewey ordered him to fire the first shot in the Battle of Manila Bay.

"There's a famous phrase, 'you may fire when ready, Gridley.' There are 2 footprints that say this is where Gridley stood when he gave those commands. We're not really sure if that's accurate or not but at least it's something fun for people to see when they come and visit us," said Flynn.

You'll also get a tour of the Becuna submarine, which launched in the Pacific in World War II. Then head over to the Independence Seaport Museum to learn about the War of 1812.

Then it's back to the Olympia for some bedtime ghost stories onboard the boat.

"Olympia is pretty old so there's no showers or no head on board or anything like that, we're kind of roughing it as well. We just kind of bring a sleeping bag and just sleep right on the deck," added Flynn.

To make a reservation for the overnight program, go to Independence Seaport Musum and click on the learning tab.