Battleship Of New Jersey: Touring America’s Most Decorated Battleship


Few museums are as impressive as the massive Battleship of New Jersey, a floating museum on the Delaware River—it’s a staggering eleven stories high and nearly three football fields long. This Iowa-class battleship, built to “keep floating and keep fighting”—with nine 16-inch guns that can reach up to 23 miles away—has a fierce presence that served it well in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and the Persian Gulf Wars. Today, it is an interactive preserved museum where you can walk, climb, and crawl into everything from bunks and bathrooms to laundry rooms, a mess hall, a library, and even an added modern play area for kids. I give this ship 19 stars (the battleship earned 19 Battle Stars while in service and is the most decorated one in the US) for a day my family will never forget. And with improvements after a few months in dry dock, there’s even more to love. Scroll down for what we learned while we visited the Battleship of New Jersey, and be sure to check out our best things to do in NJ for more fun ideas. (featured photo credit: NJ MOM)

The Battleship of New Jersey: A Monumental Tour Experience

Battleship of New Jersey

Each chain link in this photo is 123 pounds! Photo Credit: NJ MOM

Choose your tour

After signing in at the Visitor’s Center, we selected our tour for the day. There are four interactive tours, and my kids chose the Fire Power Self-Guided Tour, where you could explore five levels above ground and two decks below. You aren’t totally alone, though—guides are stationed throughout each part of the battleship, so they can answer any questions or give insight. There are also extensions to the regular tours that allow you to walk into the armored gun house, explore the magazines where powder bags were stored, and pull the trigger to simulate firing a 16-inch gun. My husband and son loved the ship so much that we took three self-guided tours. It was fun to have the freedom to explore the ship independently, and it was exciting to see a new surprise around every corner.

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Ringing the bell on the Battleship of New Jersey started our tour off with a bang. Photo Credit: NJ MOM

Coming aboard the Battleship of New Jersey

As you step onto the ship, you’re greeted by docents and extraordinary views—you can see everything from Penn’s Landing to the Philadelphia skyline. We set out to explore the deck and were amazed by the sheer size of the chains and anchors. We were in awe when the docent explained that 11,000 feet of anchor chain are on each anchor, and just one chain link weighs 123 pounds. Before we left to start our tour, we spotted the massive bell, and my son was thrilled to ring it (thanks to my husband for lifting him to do it).

Battleship of New Jersey, pictures of the battleship new jersey

Notice the green tape line along the floor? When taking a self-guided tour, the lines are easy to follow as you choose your route. Photo Credit: NJ MOM

Choose your path

Since we were doing the self-guided tour, we could follow the lines on the floor and choose our battleship adventure with four color-coded options. The Green Line tour follows the main route, The Red Line features weapons and navigation, the Blue Line tour goes into the Citadel, and the Yellow Line tour features glimpses of the Crew’s Life. The lines were easy to see, but take note—there’s a lot of walking and climbing. There are some tight spaces to see the ship’s inner workings in several locations, and adventurous kids and parents can opt to squeeze through those routes to see different views. After the tours, stop by Jason’s Kids Kompartment, where kids can play for a while (and parents can take a break). We spent only a short time there, but my kids liked pretending to be a boat captain, cooking a meal in the play kitchen, or playing some Sixers basketball.

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The Battleship has so many unique nooks and crannies to check out, like this TV studio. Photo Credit: NJ MOM

Take a step back in time

As we made our way through our tour of the Battleship New Jersey, we had to remember that until 2001, this was a working military ship, and everything was used by the crew. It was neat to see what a TV studio, barbershop, laundry room (imagine doing all that laundry), navigation room, library, radio room, and even the Captain’s In-Port Cabin looked like when the ship was on the seas. We were all enthralled by the unique High Line Chair that transferred you from one ship to another at sea. There would be anywhere from 10 to 30 people pulling you over the ocean waves (think zipline), which my son declared was “way cool.” 

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Spend a night like a crew member aboard the Battleship of New Jersey. Photo Credit: NJ MOM

Spend the night on the Battleship of New Jersey

Want to recreate what it felt like to be part of the crew? Schedule a sleepover on the Battleship New Jersey with the Overnight Encampment Program. If you’re thinking about doing it, you can book with a group (scouts, schools, etc.), request a family trip, or do it as a birthday party. You’ll feel right at home after storing your gear in a locker and finding your bunk–both used by the enlisted sailors when they were at sea. Dinner is chowline style, and then after, there is a tour of the ship exploring different spots that aren’t on typical tours. The following day, there’s breakfast and hands-on programs, including exploring the science behind the battleship, before packing up and stopping at the gift shop for souvenirs.


Watching fireworks aboard the Battleship of New Jersey is an experience not to be missed. Photo Credit: Battleship New Jersey

Special events aboard the Battleship of New Jersey

Spending one of the patriotic holidays aboard Battleship New Jersey is a treat, especially when there are fireworks shows on Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day. Watching fireworks bursting in the air over the 887-foot battleship is one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Other events are Halloween Treats at the Battleship and Family Fun Day—check their events section to find out what’s happening. 


To get an idea of the size of the Battleship of New Jersey, look at how small the helicopter looks on the ship’s deck. Photo Credit: NJ MOM

What to know before you go

The ship reopens after its drydocking on June 29, 2024, for fireworks and July 3, 2024, for tours from 10 AM-4 PM and fireworks. Once the ship fully reopens on July 3, tickets will be $30 for adults, $25 for seniors and kids 12 and under, and $20 for veterans for a self-guided tour; prices vary for other tours. There are several parking options, and public transportation is also available. It’s best to wear closed-toe shoes or sneakers because there are several steep steps (called ladders by the Navy) to maneuver up and down the ship, and there are also “knee knockers,” which are high step openings between rooms. Strollers are not permitted; front carriers are required for infants or toddlers. There is a gift shop, visitor’s center, restrooms on-site, and The Black Dragon Cafe if you get hungry while on the ship.

Battleship of New Jersey
62 Battleship Place
Camden, NJ 08103

Check out their website, Instagram, and Facebook before you go.

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About Author

Melanie Bodner has always had a love for writing, but now she has a new love…being a mom. Before having her kids, Melanie was no stranger to writing or working with children. She wrote for a local newspaper as a reporter and taught English and Dance in a public school. Now Melanie enjoys spending time with her kids, doing yoga, writing and decorating her home. Check out her Instagram @burlapbythebeach.