USS LEXINGTON Museum On The Bay
Sixteen decks. A length of three New York City blocks, a displacement of more than 33,000 tons, and a flight deck big enough to hold 1,000 cars. More sleeping space than the world’s biggest hotel and the ability to produce enough electricity to power a city of 150,000 people.
All of this describes the USS Lexington, a World War II era Essex class aircraft carrier in Corpus Christi. Step aboard the USS Lexington Museum on the Bay and you’ll be inside of an American legend.
Every hallway you walk down, set of stairs you climb, and deck you visit reveals the lives and stories of heroism of those who served on the Blue Ghost.
USS LEXINGTON Museum on the Bay Tour Routes
There are five areas totaling more than 100,000 square feet across 11 decks aboard the USS Lexington to explore, and you can do so on either a self-guided or a guided tour. While guides can be arranged in advance for a small fee, volunteers in yellow shirts--many of whom once served aboard the Lexington --can answer any questions you may have. Regular tour areas include:
The USS Lexington’s landing strip showcases 20 aircraft, including classic warbirds such as the SBD-3 Dauntless and modern fighters like the Blue Angels FA-18 Hornet. You’ll also get an up-close look at the ship’s anti-aircraft guns and the impressive five-inch guns inside of 60-ton turrets that could fire a 55-pound projectile more than nine miles.
Short for “forecastle” (or upper deck), the foc’sle features anchor machinery, officers’ quarters, and the multimedia Pearl Harbor exhibit. This state-of-the-art display includes a film about the infamous attack brought to life through 8,000-watt speakers and transducers that rumble along with the film’s corresponding explosions. There is also a display detailing the making of the 2001 film Pearl Harbor, which was filmed in part on the USS Lexington.
Step into the Gallery Deck to see where the aircraft carrier’s commanders made strategic decisions. Highlights include the captain’s cabin, the Combat Information Center, the library, ready rooms, and the CVE/CVL Exhibit.
The lower decks is where many sailors slept, ate, and lived. Stroll through the chapel, crew’s galley, dental clinic, engine room, and sick bay, and a POW Exhibit. The lower decks also contain two special displays: the POW Exhibit and the Scale Model Gallery, the largest publicly exhibited model collection in Texas. More than 440 scale model masterpieces depicting ships and aircraft from all over the world, from 1940 to the present, are part of the collection that took more than 120 volunteers thousands of hours of work to complete.
Get it on some of the action on the Hangar Deck. Soar through the skies like an F-18 fighter pilot in the Flight Simulator and then watch riveting films related to naval aviation in the MEGA Theater.
You’ll probably work up quite the appetite after all this adventure, so head to The Mess Deck for a cheese burger, pizza, sandwich, or a cool drink. Before disembarking the USS Lexington, stop by the Ship’s Store for a souvenir to remember your walk through history.
In addition to the public tours, the museum offers special behind-the-scenes looks at the workings of the USS Lexington through the Hard Hat Tour, taking you through more than 15 areas of the ship including the bomb elevator, scullery, secondary conn, and ordnance shop. The Flight Operations Tour reveals the ins and outs of being a naval aviator, from briefing procedures through launch, flight, and recovery. The museum is available for overnight youth camp-outs and private functions, as well.
Don’t pass up a chance to witness a marvel of engineering and site of countless stories of heroism and bravery at the USS LEXINGTON Museum on the Bay in Corpus Christi!