Looking for something to do after you have exhausted all the historical sites in Philly, take a day trip to spend a fun afternoon in Camden, New Jersey. Camden is easily accessible from Philly by taking the ferry across the Delaware River or driving over the Ben Franklin Bridge.
The RiverLink Ferry runs from Philadelphia to Camden waterfronts during the Spring & Summer. Tickets are $9 for roundtrip service. The ferry to/from New Jersey goes under the Ben Franklin Bridge. So, lots of photo opportunities await.
Battleship New Jersey (BB-62)
Our first stop was to tour the Battleship New Jersey and Memorial. This ship is massive at 887 ft 7in. It is the longest battleship in the fleet and is the most decorate with 19 Battle, and Campaign Stars decorate this battleship. This vessel has participated in World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, and the Lebanese Civil War.
Kayla and I got to explore this battleship almost entirely by ourselves. A few other people were walking around, but, for the most part, we were on our own. Walking through the small corridors and steps, you have to remember to watch where you step and above so you don’t hit your head on the low ceilings.
The tour path takes you up and down stairways so, you need to be capable of navigating small steps easily. There are maps to show you where you are so; you won’t get lost. There is also a painted red line on the floor to help you navigate the ship.
We walked through the Captain and Admiral’s Cabins. This is the Captain’s in-port cabin where he entertains and has meetings.
Next, we explored the Bridge, Communication Center, and Navigation areas. It is incredible to me how these ships function with computer systems that look ancient. Good thing this battleship is retired. Are those Commodore 64 computers?
The Tomahawk Missile Launch Pad is impressive to see up close. The Tomahawks launch across the deck of the ship to protect the boats below them. There are eight Mark 143 Armored Box Launchers throughout the ship. Each is holding four Tomahawk missiles. With a range of over 1500 miles, if the New Jersey launches a Tomahawk from here, it can reach anywhere in the United States, east of Dallas, Texas, and as far south as Miami, Florida.
You can see the Radio Room, Crews Bunks, and the Mess Hall back inside the ship. This is a neat way to see how the sailors live on the ship every day. Including how they did their laundry.
The one area no sailor wants to be in is the Brig. This area was also used in World War II to detain Japanese prisoners.
The Battleship New Jersey is a great experience to see how important our Navy is to the United States and especially how the Battleship New Jersey contributed over the years.
“The returning once more to sleep of this great ship is both unfair and unjust to her and country. She is freedom for those willing to fight for it. She has brought pride to her county and, most importantly, to the men she served, on land and at sea. If she is called again to serve us, She’ll be ready and willing to go more than ever. For who of us can say what price is paid for freedom or that this country is so great or powerful enough to put her to death?” -Anonymous
The Fire Power Tour is what Kayla and I did. It is a self-guided tour that encompasses five levels up and two levels below deck. There is an audio version available but, we found that the signs everywhere gave us the same information so, we didn’t feel the need for it. Tickets are $24.95 for adults and $19.95 for children (5-11yrs). Or if you have the Philadelphia Pass, entry is free. Plan to spend a couple of hours here to get through the whole battleship, museum, and gift shop.
The Adventure Aquarium is open 365 days a year from 10 am-5 pm. The aquarium houses several zones filled with fish, penguins, Stingrays, hippos, and sharks. And the shark exhibit is the largest collection of sharks on the East Coast.
This big guy you could watch for hours. Such a massive turtle!
The Penguin exhibit is both indoors and outdoors. Isn’t he cute?! Right by the Penguin encounter is the Stingray Pool. Kayla and I were petting them and watching them race around the pool. One of the Stingrays came up and slapped the water right at Kayla. I couldn’t stop laughing for a half hour. It was the funniest thing to see her dripping wet and all upset at the stingray that dissed her.
Up close and personal with the hippos in Hippo Haven. Adventure Aquarium is the only aquarium that showcases hippos.
There are several opportunities to see the sharks. Through the glass, from above on a rope suspension bridge, and you can even snorkel with the sharks. Personally, I’ll stay behind the glass.
The Adventure Aquarium is a fun activity for the family. I would plan to go earlier because it does get noisy with all the kids running around in the afternoon. Tickets are $34.99 for adults and $21.99 for children. If you have the Philadelphia Pass, entry is free. Purchasing the pass is a great way to save money in many places in Philadelphia.
These two activities are a wonderful addition to a Philadelphia trip and a visit to Camden. Do you have any other suggestions to spend a fun afternoon in Camden, New Jersey?