After an illustrious career as a United States Navy aircraft carrier, the USS CVB/CVA/CV-41 Midway was decommissioned in 1992. Berthed at San Diego Harbor, the carrier has become a major tourist attraction, opening in 2004. One of the primary functions of the museum is to recount the history of the USS Midway. Commissioned a week after the end of World War II, until 1955, the USS Midway was the largest ship in the world, too big to sail through the Panama Canal. Serving for an unprecedented 47 years, the USS Midway was active in the Vietnam War, and was flagship in Operation Desert Storm in the Middle East conflict. The bridge tours that are provided give visitors a closer look at the operational aspects of the carrier and are very heavily subscribed so that one of the first things to do is to find out when the next tour is on. Museum volunteers that are very knowledgable conduct the tours and many of them are veterans who have a really fascinating story of their own. To go through the numerous displays, it is also best to pick up an audio set as many of the aircraft and equipment are quite complex for the casual visitor, and the audio guide also is useful in pacing yourself around the ship. There is a large gift shop at the end of the lower deck, along with a restaurant. For adults, it is the carrier and its complement of aircraft that is the attraction but for young people, there are a number of simulators that had long lineups, so check them out early in your visit. Other nearby attractions include the Bob Hope Memorial, made up of life size statues which plays his USO tour audio from World War II and the Complete Surrender statue (mimicking the "kiss" in Times Square). My wife and I visited the USS Midway after dark and stumbled into the Bob Hope Memorial with the audio from the USO tour becoming an eerie connection to Hope's perennial tours to the front, this time the Pacific Theater.
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