rhode trip (+ beyond): Navy Submarine Force Museum

[ 8 ] August 15, 2008 |

By Captain Richard Itkin

Location: Groton, CT
Distance from Providence, RI: 60 miles. Drive time: approximately 1 hour. (map it)

Command Central at the Sub Museum - kid o infoImg 8624-1

I recently visited the Navy Submarine Force Museum with grandsons and cousins’ grandsons — five boys between the ages of three and seven – along with their parents and other assorted grownups. OK, the disclosure is that for me it was part nostalgia, having retired fifteen years ago in a ceremony at the museum after spending a third of my thirty-year Naval career in Groton. That said, I highly recommend the museum as a destination visit for children (and adults). The five boys were enthusiastically entertained for 2½ hours with the ability to freely wander about, touch everything, “steer” a submarine, turn knobs, toggle switches, look through periscopes, and after two hours in the museum, have their own user-friendly listening device for the tour through the Navy’s first nuclear submarine, the Nautilus. There is also a large scale model of the Disney version of Captain Nemo’s Nautilus. The museum is spacious but not overwhelming, has “ship-shape” restrooms, is entirely kid friendly and has the added advantage of free admission, lots of video displays, and a gift shop with many moderately priced “sub-themed” souvenirs.

Feeding the Fish at AbbottsThe museum is an easy trip from Providence, only a few miles off I-95 just outside the submarine base, and is open daily during the summer (closed Tuesdays during the winter). We also had a great lunch just a few miles away at Abbott’s Lobster – plenty of seating inside and out, on the water – and room for kids to run around outside. They will even provide free crackers so you can feed the fish.

Submarine Force Museum – 1 Crystal Lake Rd., Groton, CT 06340
Toll-free: 1-800-343-0079
Local visitors: (860) 694-3174

Abbott’s Lobster – 117 Pearl St., Noank, CT
Open Memorial Day – Labor Day

Related Read
DK Classics: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne

Captain Richard Itkin served in the Navy as the captain of two submarines and a submarine tender (repair ship), on four other submarines prior to his command tours, and in various tours ashore.

Photo Credit: Douglas Itkin

Category: books / stories, free / cheap, museums, rhode trip, travel with kids

Anisa Raoof

about the author ()

Anisa Raoof is the publisher of Kidoinfo.com. She combines being a mom with her experience as an artist, designer, psych researcher and former co-director of the Providence Craft Show to create the go-to spot for families in Rhode Island and beyond. She loves using social media to connect parents with family-related businesses and services and promoting ways for parents to engage offline with their kids. Anisa believes in the power of working together and loves to find ways to collaborate with others. An online enthusiast, still likes to unplug often by reading books and magazines, drawing, learning to knit, making pop-up books with her two sons and listening to records with her husband.

Comments (8)

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  1. Sean says:

    If you can’t get to the museum you can check out some great virtual tours online:

    And the PBS Nova show about “Submarines, Secrets, and Spies”:

  2. George says:

    Our kids love the DK books with their wonderful illustrations.
    Here are 2 more suggestions about submarines:

    Submarine (Eyewitness Books)

    Submarines and Submersibles (DK Readers Level 1)

  3. Suzanne says:

    You can get the original text of “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” online for free from the amazing Project Gutenberg: http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/164

  4. Steven says:

    Submarines are full of amazing technology (similar to rocket science) and not every kid is lucky enough to have a navy captain for a grandfather or get to travel to Groton. I checked out the other sites mentioned and here are some more.

    How Stuff Works


  5. Nemo says:

    Wanna to buy a submarine? Wouldn’t it be cool if you had the money? http://www.ussubs.com/

  6. Karen says:

    My family went last year and LOVED it! My boys were 4 & 7 at the time and I could not get them to leave. They keep asking to go back. Definately worth the trip.

  7. calendar katharine says:

    captain itkin= coolest grandfather ever.

  8. Elyse Major elyse says:

    know my guys (big and small) will love this because they have have been touring the air museum, fort adams, and battleship cove this summer.

    you had ME at lobster.

    thumbs up on the book recommendation, too!

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