Our favorite 2 year old was looking at photographs of the USS Batfish in action before we entered the submarine and she said, "Boat", then paused and said, "Fish". Yes! Exactly!
The first piece of information our wonderful guide gave us was that everything on the submarine was touchable. If the kids wanted to flip a switch, they could flip it. Would they like to turn a handle? No problem! A collective cheer was heard from the children as well as a collective sigh of relief from the parents!
Touching stuff makes us smile, right? Right!
There were lots of places for exploring,
I apologize for not taking photos inside The WWII Submarine. It was absolutely fascinating to see that the officers' quarters are about the size of a linen closet and everyone else slept on three story bunk beds with a small box for keeping their belongings. There were even beds right above the torpedoes! YIKES!
Control panels are all over the place. The adults were just as excited about sliding levers and moving knobs as the children. The interior is well lit and wherever the light switches are, they are out of reach of the regular tourist. Thank goodness! One of the rambunctious boys in our group was looking for them because he thought it would be cool to turn off the lights! Oh, dear! We kept a close eye on that little fellow! ;-)
You may be wondering where to find the USS Batfish. It's in Muskogee, Oklahoma right beside the Arkansas River. From Northwest Arkansas, it's only a couple of hours away. I'm not sure how may acres are included in this lovely park.
Inside the main museum building, WWII history of the USS Batfish is told. The exhibition hall includes uniforms, photographs, rifles, swords, medals and books. This particular submarine had a significant impact on World War II. How courageous those soldiers must have been fighting battles in a soup can under the sea! After being inside their tiny living quarters, my goodness, I have a new admiration and respect for sailors.
Outside, among mature trees, they have vehicles, tanks, missiles, and gunner thingy-mabobs. (My apologies for the inadequate vocabulary!) There is also a pavilion and picnic tables scattered about the grounds.
It was a delightful learning experience about a remarkable boat that swims like a fish!