By Captain Richard Itkin
Location: Groton, CT
Distance from Providence, RI: 60 miles. Drive time: approximately 1 hour. (map it)
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.
The 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
Local visitors: (860) 694-3174
Abbott’s Lobster - 117 Pearl St., Noank, CT
Open Memorial Day – Labor Day
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