We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Nautical History Buff's Must”

Independence Seaport Museum
Book In Advance
Buy Tickets Online
More Info
and up
Independence Seaport Museum Admission
More Info
and up
Double-Decker Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Tour of Philadelphia
More Info
and up
Hop-on Hop-off and Philly By Night Tour Combo
Ranked #52 of 462 things to do in Philadelphia
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: <1 hour
Owner description: 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.
Reviewed June 9, 2013

If you are into nautical history, and have seen enough of Revolutionary period history, the Independence Seaport Museum is a must!
It includes a beautiful two story building with facts and artifacts from basically the beginnings of Philadelphia's maritime history to the present day, including beautiful and deeply meaningful displays about the slave trade, European immigration, and it's importance as a shipyard for both commercial and military use.
Another featured display is, of course, about Admirial Dewey and the USS Olympia, his flagship which was so instrumental as part of "The Great White Fleet".
Outside of the museum, is the Olympia, and also the USS Becuna, a World War II submarine.
The admission to the museum covers the self-guided walking tours of both these historic vessels.
It is well worth visiting if you are in the Philly area.

Just an additional note: Although not part of the museum, and just about a mile south at Pier 82 is the SS United States, the once glorious ocean liner, which is unfortunately, possibly nearing its demise. There is a "SavetheUnitedStates" charitable orginization which is trying to save it, but if major funding does not come through soon (possibly as soon as the end of June), it may become scrap. This would be a great loss for US Maritime History.

1  Thank hikepark
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review
Reviews (236)
Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year

155 - 159 of 236 reviews

Reviewed June 8, 2013

The location is great - huge windows right on the waterfront and with a wonderful view. Nice variety of exhibits and interpretations. Its nice to be somewhere that things happened right THERE, and the staff is very enthusiastic and helpful answering questions. The working waterfront right outside makes everything more immediate, and easier to appreciate.
The Olympia and Becuna exhibits are excellent, and give you a better feel for life on the water in earlier days.

Thank AB2511
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 1, 2013

This museum is geared a bit towards kids, but still enjoyable for adults. It has a surprising emphasis on the war of 1812, which I liked, as well as a lot of artwork. One of the highlights for me was the ability to tour two retired naval vessels: The Bacuna, a WWII era diesel sub, and the Olympia, Admiral Dewey's flagship, and a sister ship to the Maine. The Bacuna was fascinating, and incredibly tight and a bit claustrophobic (and I don't get claustrophobic, but man, the idea of being in this thing under water and under attack kind of brings it out!) The Bacuna is not easy to move through, so if you have some mobility issues I'd say skip it and go on to the Olympia. The Olympia is just beautiful, with a lot of very nice hard wood features belowdecks. It also has a lot of big (for the time) guns, and was clearly a force to be reckoned with in its day. You can stand where Dewey stood when he said "You may fire when you are ready, Gridley", and proceeded to blow the hell out of the Spanish fleet in Manila Bay. If you are going during the summer, and are a bit pressed for time, after 5PM you can get a Museum only ticket or a Ships Only ticket for $5.00.

Thank Bruce A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 27, 2013

For one admission price we saw a huge, well laced out museum and were able to take self guiding tours of the USS Olympia and a submarine. The sub is a bit of a challenge to navigate between compartments, the "doorways" are quite small but once you get the hang of it, no problem...even for those of us who are taller, bigger people. Glad I braved the first ladder/stairs down. The USS Olympia was very interesting too.

Thank Barb J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 5, 2013

We visited the museum more because we were interested in seeing the Olympia, which was absolutely worth it. Not only is the ship an important piece of history, but it is just a really beautiful vessel. The wooden common areas and officers quarters were really quite stunning. Although our primary purpose was to visit the Olympia, we enjoyed the chance to see the submarine and visit the museum building. We weren't as impressed with the museum, but there were still some decent exhibits that we enjoyed viewing. It just felt really disjointed and even silly at points, but regardless, we found our admission price worth it in order to visit the historic ships.

Thank DP79DC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Independence Seaport Museum also viewed


Been to Independence Seaport Museum? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing