This awesome display of naval power projection is open year-round and much of the weather decks are actually handicap accessible. For the kids, there is plenty to climb around on and in. Most of the giant gun turrets are open, and there are deck guns galore. Be up-to-date on your tetanus shots, though, just to be sure.
Inside the 16" gun turret.
"Enemy fighters at 3 o'clock!"
"What happens at 3 o'clock?"
You can go almost as high or low as you could want on your self-guided tour. I'll admit the tour arrows are a little difficult to follow as they go up and down and overlap in places, but maybe that was because we were 4 adults of varying fitness levels chasing 6 kids around that day. In any case, you will be blown away by the size and complexity of the ship. They have several laundries and wood/metal working shops, plus ship's store and post offices. Not to mention the galley and racks to feed and house all those guys.
"Whatever! It's way more crowded in the minivan."
I do not, however, recommend visiting in July if you can help it. That is unless you want the full old-school boiler-engine heat navy experience. And in that case especially, wear disposable clothing, bring water, and remember there is a/c in the wardroom.
A glimpse of the future?
Since it took several hours to drive from Jacksonville, we spent the night in Daphne, AL, on the eastern side of Mobile Bay. At the recommendation of the hotel staff, we ate dinner at Bimini Bob's which was a good seafood restaurant with out being too fishy, if you know what I mean. The next morning we visited the Pensacola Air Museum, but I'll talk about that next time.