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EXPLORE AMERICA: Great Lakes Naval Memorial and Museum

A life at sea with the U.S. Navy. It brings up images from the old footage of Victory at Sea. At the Great Lakes Navel Memorial and Museum, you can live the history by visiting a real WWII submarine. Credited with sinking 30 Japanese vessels, the U.S.S. Silversides is one of the most highly decorated WWII submarines. Put to work only eight days after Pearl Harbor, this sub served in the East China Sea and off the coast of Japan. Decommissioned in 1946, the sub has been docked in Muskegon’s Pere Marquette Park, along the south side of the Muskegon Channel, since 1987. Pick up an information sheet at the ticket office, then check your claustrophobia at the dock and climb down the hatchway for a fascinating tour through the sub’s narrow passageways and tiny rooms. (Believe it or not, eight officers and 72 enlisted men once shared these close quarters for weeks at a time. You’ll be doing well if you can last 10 minutes without feeling panicky.) When you get to the torpedo room, please remember not to pull the lever that says “fire.” The U.S.S. Silversides is open April through October. Days/hours vary by month; call ahead for specifics. The museum also gives tours on a Coast Guard vessel and has an extensive library for the Navy buff in all of us. Groups are welcome and kids can stay all night on the ship, accompanied by adults, for a unique experience.

The Great Lakes Naval Memorial and Museum is located 1346 Bluff St, Muskegon, Michigan. Telephone 231-755-1230. http://glnmmorg000.web151.discountasp.net/apps/dnn/mydnn/Home/tabid/36/Default.aspx

Photo credit: ©Rand McNally/Brett Gover

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