Explore the SS Jeremiah O’Brien in San Francisco

After being held for 11 months as a Prisoner of War by the Germans in World War II, Leo Carlton (my grandpa) rode a Liberty ship home. I stumbled upon the SS Jeremiah O’Brien, the only active Liberty Ship still in its original configuration, while in San Francisco. I had to take a tour of the ship with my kids to help them get a little taste of what their great grandpa may have experienced after being liberated in May 1945.

Here are 4 reasons to tour the SS Jeremiah O’Brien the next time you’re in San Francisco.

Take a tour on the SS Jeremiah O'Brien Liberty Ship in San Francisco - Carltonaut's Travel Tips

SS Jeremiah O’Brien is One-of-a-Kind

The SS Jeremiah O’Brien may be one of only two Liberty ships still in operation, but it’s also the only one that is still in it’s original configuration – which means it remains historically accurate.

Dating back to 1943, when it slid into the water in New England and entered the fray of World War II, the SS Jeremiah O’Brien made seven voyages during the war. It also made several crossings of the English Channel in support of D-Day operations.

As you board the ship, you’ll be able to explore the history of the ship and see how it looked in its original 1940s configuration.

Fun Inside the SS Jeremiah O'Brien Liberty Ship in San Francisco Carltonaut's Travel Tips

You Can Tour the Liberty Ship at Your Own Pace

Once on board, visitors can wander through the ship at their own pace. If you want to spend more time exploring the guns on the deck and taking aim at San Francisco, you can. If you prefer to venture below deck and see what life was like for the crew in the mess hall, you can do that, too.

The tour of the ship also has things to play on. For example, my daughter was able to pretend she was Rosie the Riveter with her “We can do it!” attitude. My sons were able to pretend they were sailors or admirals. It’s these little exhibits that help make the tour more enjoyable for young kids.

Engine Room on the SS Jeremiah O'Brien Liberty Ship in San Francisco Carltonaut's Travel Tips

The Engine Room is Featured in a Famous Movie

If you’ve ever seen Titanic, the Hollywood blockbuster from the 1990s, then you’ve seen inside the SS Jeremiah O’Brien. The engine room of the Liberty ship was used as the set of the Titanic’s engine room. Lucky for us, the engine room of the SS Jeremiah O’Brien didn’t suffer the same fate as the Titanic.

Gunner on the SS Jeremiah O'Brien Liberty Ship in San Francisco Carltonaut's Travel Tips

You Can Sit in the Gunner’s Seat

One of the most popular parts of the tour for my kids were the large guns on the deck. They enjoyed sitting in them and turning the knobs that would rotate, raise and lower the heavy artillery. While it seemed a little odd to take aim at downtown San Francisco, the guns aren’t loaded.

If you like to explore war ships around the country, then learn more about the USS Midway in San Diego, the Maritime Museum of San Diego, or the USS Constitution on the Freedom Trail in Boston.

The Details:

Address: 45 Pier, Suite 4A, San Francisco, CA 94133

Parking: You’ll find some street parking nearby, but if you’re staying at a hotel, look for public transit options.

Cost: General Admission is $20; Kids (ages 5-12) are $10; Seniors (62+) are $12; Family of 4 (2 adults, two kids) is $45; Children 4 and under are free. US active military are $10.

Hours: Open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Overnight programs are available – more details on the website.

Website: https://www.ssjeremiahobrien.org/

Phone: (415) 544-0100

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Explore the SS Jeremiah O'Brien in San Francisco

 

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