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Surprisingly good museum and tour of first U.S. naval shipyard on the West Coast

Established in 1854 under the command of Commander David Farragut (before "Damn the torpedoes... read more

Reviewed 14 November 2018
interceptpubs
,
Columbus, Indiana
My dad served in Korea and his ship docked here for repairs

The museum is an American gem. Everyone can learn from this spot, so huge and filled with the past... read more

Reviewed 28 October 2018
bugnurse56
,
Santa Paula, CA
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All reviews naval shipyard control room ship yard tiffany windows cold war american history gift shop guided tour chapel artifacts docent nuclear ships founding information bunker sailors
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Reviewed 25 March 2018

Finally signed up for the tour of Mare Island after years of driving past it and was not disappointed.
Our tour guide, Lou, was knowledgeable with American history and Mare Island History from 1854 to 1996. I didn't expect such complete accounting of events in and around the time Mare Island was in operation. Lou connected all the dots! He was thorough and at the same time put a personal spin by telling us of individuals who made history during those years. I learned so much and could have listened to Lou for hours more.
Our tour party included four seniors, two adults, one teenager, one pre-teen and a toddler. Lou handled us all equally and managed to carry on without seeming to be too bothered by the active toddler!
Before taking the tour I tried to find out from other reviews if the tour included much walking but couldn't find that information.
The tour includes driving your own vehicle behind the tour guide's vehicle from the museum check in to the the chapel to the Admiral's mansion and to the dry docks. We were able to sit for quite awhile in the chapel to absorb the beautiful Tiffany windows and Lou's history of how and when they were made along with his recounting of events that took place in the Chapel.
The entrance to the Chapel has a wheelchair ramp.
The Admiral's mansion was a relaxing tour of both upstairs and downstairs. The stairs are easy to navigate but not wheelchair accessible. I didn't notice a wheel chair ramp to bypass the outside steps into the mansion. If your party includes a wheelchair you might want to check on that.
The museum, after the tour, was so much fun to poke around in and the gift shop had nice Mare Island souvenirs.
If you're interested in American history, California history, Marine and Naval history from 1854 to 1996 then I highly recommend this tour which can last about two hours.

Date of experience: March 2018
2  Thank Thelmadee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 May 2017

This museum is located on the old Naval shipyard in Vallejo, CA. It has all sorts of WW II and older ship history. It's where the subs and Naval ships were actually built. The Navy abandoned the area some years ago so there are many empty warehouses and military housing. The address takes you to the location in an old warehouse. The museum is run by volunteers but it has all sorts of Naval records. There are people working there who will find whatever you want. The $5 per person is a bargain. Not to be missed to see some history I don't think you will find anywhere else.

Date of experience: May 2017
4  Thank Ed T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 May 2017

So many things to see in this museum and they were mainly specific to Mare Island Naval Shipyard. Great place to visit and worth the $5 charge!

Date of experience: April 2017
Thank Jane D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 April 2017

The history of Mare Island is fascinating and this museum shows it off nicely. There are various exhibits on the workers, the ships the produced, and historical items. The favorite of me and my boys was the working periscope.

Our only gripes are minor. It is very very cold. It is in an old building with no heat. If not going in the summer make sure to bring a jacket. The roof also leaks badly in the winter. The only other complaint was a lack of staff. When we went there was only one lady working. It was not enough for her to open the gift shop. Again...not a huge deal but it might have been nice to have more staff.

Date of experience: April 2017
2  Thank JohnFromSantaClara
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 March 2017 via mobile

Be prepared to not see museum if private party. We didn't even pay but didn't see anything. Better to drive around island

Date of experience: March 2017
Thank 440cindyw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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