One highlight of any trip to the Mystic-New London area is a visit to the historic ship Nautilus and Submarine Force Museum. When commissioned, USS Nautilus (SSN 571) was the world’s first nuclear-powered ship. Today, the submarine is open for tours.
Located on the Thames River adjacent to the naval submarine base, the museum and submarine are open to the public daily throughout the summer and six days a week throughout the winter at no cost.
You’ll discover the mystery and adventure of the Silent Service through the nation’s finest collection of indoor and outdoor displays of American submarine heritage. Inside the museum are working periscopes, an authentic submarine control room and extensive models depicting the development of the U.S. Submarine Force.
Elsewhere in the museum, you can relax in one of two theaters and enjoy films of submarines past and present. Stand in the recreated submarine attack center and hear the sounds of battle beneath the waves. Take a seat at the ship’s control panel from the nuclear attack submarine Billfish or peer through one of three operating periscopes. You might even see one of the Navy’s newest nuclear submarines going by on the Thames River.
Then experience the excitement of walking the decks that made submarine history when you go aboard Nautilus, the first nuclear-powered submarine. You will be able to see a torpedo room, attack center and sonar room, officer stateroom, enlisted mess and radio room. The submarine tour normally lasts about 30 minutes, but there may be some waiting time since the Nautilus can only accommodate75 visitors at a time. During peak tourist season, the line to see Nautilus closes at 4:30 p.m. so that everyone in line has an opportunity to go through the submarine before it closes at 5 p.m.
For those who desire to learn more about a particular submarine or event in submarine history, the museum houses the largest submarine library in the world. The library serves as the repository for the records and history of the U.S. Submarine Force from its beginning to present day. New books, photographs and documents are being added weekly. The library is open to researchers by appointment only.
Location: Take Exit 86 off Interstate 95 and follow the signs; it is less than 2 miles from the interstate.
Hours: Open year-round. Summer (May 1 through Oct. 31): 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Monday, closed Tuesday. Winter (Nov. 1 through April 30): 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Monday, closed Tuesday. The Nautilus tour is closed the last two weeks of April and the first full two weeks in November while the submarine undergoes maintenance. Please call and check the schedule.
Additional Information: Call 800-343-0079 for more information or 860-694-3174 to schedule a group visit.
Visit us at www.ussnautilus.org.