Independence Seaport Museum

Independence Seaport Museum, Philadelphia: Hours, Address, Independence Seaport Museum Reviews: 4.5/5

Independence Seaport Museum

Independence Seaport Museum
4.5
Speciality Museums • History Museums
Read more
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Write a review
About
Philadelphia's maritime museum features interactive exhibits, historic ships (Spanish American war-era cruiser Olympia and WWII-era submarine Becuna) and changing exhibition galleries. Seasonal river tours of the Delaware River and kayaks / rowboat rentals available. Extended evening hours Thursday - Saturday Memorial Day - Labor Day.
Suggested duration
< 1 hour
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing
Admission tickets
from $18.00
All you need to step foot in the door.
The area
Address
Neighborhood: City Center East
How to get there
  • 2nd St • 7 min walk
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.

4.5
313 reviews
Excellent
148
Very good
129
Average
30
Poor
1
Terrible
5

Located on the waterfront at Penn’s Landing, the Independence Seaport Museum provides a window into Philadelphia’s history as a port city and ship-building center. Museum exhibits include information about the types of vessels, both commercial and recreational, that have been used on the Delaware River since colonial times, as well as highlighting the city’s role in immigration and international trade. The most fascinating pieces of the museum’s collection include the two historic naval vessels moored outside: Olympia, a Spanish American War-era military cruiser, and the S.S. Becuna, a World War II submarine. Admission to both vessels, which you can view in a self-guided tour, is included in the museum’s entry fee. Both have been wonderfully preserved, offering visitors a unique glimpse into life at sea during two pivotal moments in America’s history.
Written May 22, 2002
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Family_of_5_in_NJ
Somerville, MA8 contributions
Overall, we were very impressed by this museum and are very glad we spent a several hours here. I went in with limited expectations when the gal at the ticket window told me that it would take us about 45 minutes to an hour to see the exhibits and then another 30 minutes or so so tour the two vessels berthed outside. Well, at 2+ hours later we emerged back into the daylight having thoroughly enjoyed the museum exhibits - well, almost. Why the qualifier. Simple - a significant number of the interactive, hands-on exhibits were out of order and this was quite a disappointment. For example, in the exhibit on ship construction there was an opportunity to look through a set of googles and experience welding ship panels together (or something like that). Don't know - it was broken. Similarly, in the exhibit on sea cargo, there was model of a cargo ship wit cranes that would allow the kids to load and unload the shipping containers. Looked like fun. Don't know for sure - it was broken. Even simpler things like one of the interactive video programs couldn't be watched due to a Mac OS X pop-up dialog relating to a required software update. Cumulatively, these and other similar disappointments left us feeling like we had missed out on getting the full experience that we had paid for.

All of that said, we still really enjoyed the museum and learned a lot. We were very glad to have done this.

Having finished the indoor exhibits we headed out for a short walk down the pier to visit the historic vessels. En route our hoped were raised and then dashed that we'd be able to board the berthed tug boat. Onwards, we reached the U.S.S. Becuna, a submarine that dates back to 1944 and that permanently retired in 1973. We spent a long time on the boat. Not only was it restored to a condition that I can only assume is very close to how it appeared while in service, the signage throughout was very helpful in understanding what we were looking at and in putting us in the mindset of the submariners that served on this boat. Take your time going through the Becuna. It is the highlight of the entire Seaport Museum experience.

After leaving the Becuna, next was the USS Olympia. Per Wikipedia, the Olympia "was a protected cruiser in the United States Navy during the Spanish-American War. She is most notable for being the flagship of Commodore George Dewey at the Battle of Manila Bay. The cruiser continued in service throughout World War I and was decommissioned in 1922."

The Olypmia is quite striking from the exterior and even more so on the inside. The spaciousness of the vessel is rather striking in comparison to the submarine we had just left. Also of immediate note upon boarding was the attention to detail in the decorative flourishes in areas such as the Admiral's state room, officer's mess, and other areas.

While the Olympia was beautifully restored and great to see, we left disappointed. In comparison to the Becuna, the lack of signage was rather striking. I simply lost count of how many things we looked at, said "that's cool, what is it, what does that do, huh?" With neither signs nor museum staff anywhere to be found, we left the Olympia knowing little more than we did when we boarded. I hope that this is something that will be addressed in the years to come, because this really is a magnificent vessel.

P.S. If your budget and schedule permit, the Mosholu is right next door. This is a restaurant on a beautiful 1904 (?) 4-masted sailing ship. We didn't eat there, but walking by it looked really nice.
Written April 5, 2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

1234texas
Seabrook, TX2,298 contributions
This is a very nice area just south of the Hilton Hotel. The park setting has food booths, ships, water views, sitting areas and decent landscaping for an urban park.

The highpoint is the collection of three ships. The cruiser i(WWI) s world famous and looks great. you can make a model of this from a kit! It is the Cruiser Olympia.

The submarine is good and from WWII. It is Submarine Becuna.

The four square sailing ship is very impressive.

Nice place to spend a little time!
Written October 4, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

SUSAN H
Newcastle, UK1,516 contributions
Family
The sea port museum for the three adults was very expensive costing $40.50 which was more than their website said it was, not kept up to date!! The woman cashier in the kiosk was not very friendly or helpful at all! We paid onto the ships and were not told to that the entrance fee also allowed you entrance to the seaport museum, or that you could only do half of the tour!
Submarine Buccanna was ok but the self-guided tour of the ship Olympia was very basic and we were only allowed to do half of the tour. When we asked why only half the tour was open and that we were not allowed on the upper decks of Olympia, we were told because the upper decks were wet off the rain earlier, but this did not stop us going onto the deck of submarine Buccanna?……Was the deck of the Buccanna not WET too? We should have been told only half of the tour was open if this was the case and the price of admission adjusted accordingly!!
We have been on numinous warships and submarines in the past and this experience at the Seaport museum has got to be the worst we here ever experienced and they do not have a clue how to present a tourist attraction , no wonder we were the only people on board! very basic in and out of the ship in ten minutes, very little interactive things to do on board and not much thought put into the ship to make it interesting just the basics!! Other vessels have people on board telling you story’s and information related to the history of the vessels.
As for the Seaport museum…..empty showcases!!! Lots of them! Even the souvenir penny machine did not have the embossed die imprints of either the ship Olympia or submarine Buccanna! A total waste of time for anybody over ten years old.
A total waste of time and money!!
Written August 23, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

michaelbunero1959
74 contributions
Couples
Worth a visit learned about maritime on the Delaware. Gave a nice history. Some nice artifacts and great models of ships. Had a section on slavery which was moving. Not a big museum but you could spend time reading. Didn't do the boats that come with admission.
Written November 5, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Gene H
Seymour, TN360 contributions
Couples
If you live in Philly or are just visiting, if you like anything about the Delaware River or the surrounding area, then the Independence Seaport Museum should be on your list of things to do. Wow, this place is amazing with the information, history and livelihood of life along the Delaware and Philadelphia as a seaport to the world. For kids and adults alike this is a wonderful place to spend several hours. And your admission includes passage onto the ship USS Olympia and the submarine USS Becuna.
Enjoy
Written July 4, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Thank you for this wonderful review. We are so pleased to hear that you enjoyed your Museum visit!
Written July 19, 2017
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Candorite
Candor, NY16 contributions
Business
I took my class here--grades 7-12 (I guess the closest choice TripAdvisor allows is 'business.'). Do the tours of the Olympia and Becuna! The museum alone as far as Philadelphia sights go is average. They do offer some "History and STEAM classes" that look fascinating for groups of students, but we didn't have time to fit those in. Ask about them or look under "Field Trips" for Education Programs and Add-on Options. I think my students' favorite part of the museum was the "tattoo parlor."
The boat tours, however, are fantastic. This was my second visit (first time was with my boys ages 7-10). You will get to see the details of the physical ships as well as what the life and times were like. Dress appropriately for steep stairs, small doors, and windy decks.
PARKING WARNING: Be careful to go hard right underneath the Hilton hotel when you pull off the highway. The signs tell you that Independence Seaport Museum Parking is outside to the left, but that is a private lot that is more expensive. The parking attendant will even lie to you and tell you that you will receive money back from the Museum by presenting your receipt. Park in the Hilton and take your ticket into the museum for a discount.
If you have extra time, check out the monuments at and around Penn's Landing.
Written April 4, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Amanda M
879 contributions
Second time here. We came a few years ago and there was a nice gift shop that is gone now. Admission is $18 for adults and $15 for kids up to age 17. Parking alone is $18. It ads up.

The check in staff were very friendly.

Only enough to keep you here for about 1 -2 hours
or so.

The ship is the best part and is included with admission.

The penns landing area is dead. Nothing is open.
Written July 13, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

chris k
Winchester, VA435 contributions
Family
A well spaced out museum with plenty of models of various ships - all of which were put together by artisans. I can just look at them for hours. Visitors can also see the USS Olympia, a early 1900’s battle cruiser. That was quite interesting to tour and to note how much the ship had no watertight bulkheads/doors - the era’s Achilles heel in Naval design.
Written March 27, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Andi
19 contributions
Couples
The ship and submarine were really interesting and fun to explore. The exhibits in the museum portion were also interesting, though the informational signs could have been more detailed. There were several things I would have liked to have read about that did not have signage. Overall, we had a wonderful time and would recommend the museum.
Written October 16, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Showing results 1-10 of 293
Anything missing or inaccurate?
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing
Frequently Asked Questions about Independence Seaport Museum

Independence Seaport Museum is open:
  • Sun - Sat 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Buy tickets in advance on Tripadvisor. If you book with Tripadvisor, you can cancel at least 24 hours before the start date of your tour for a full refund.

Independence Seaport Museum admission prices can vary. Entrance tickets currently cost $18.00, while a popular guided tour starts around $15.00 per person. See all 11 Independence Seaport Museum tickets and tours on Tripadvisor

Independence Seaport Museum can be crowded, so we recommend booking e-tickets ahead of time to secure your spot. If you book with Tripadvisor, you can cancel at least 24 hours before the start date of your tour for a full refund. See all 11 Independence Seaport Museum tickets and tours on Tripadvisor