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Battleship Texas State Historical Site in Houston

Battleship Texas State Historical Site in Houston

Texas is sometimes known as the Land of Contrasts. It is so big, and contains so many different experiences for the visitor. Not only are the regions and cities starkly different, but also the state park sites. Sure, Texas has the more traditional lake and nature sites that you’d expect in a state park. It also has the typical historical sites. But, Texas also has a BATTLESHIP. I guess no one ever told Texas that people don’t like show-offs.

In the great Houston area in the city of La Porte stands (or floats) the USS Texas – also known as the Battleship Texas. Self guided tours are available that will take you on deck, under the deck, and into this historical ship. It is a great activity for the whole family, and especially for kids interested military history or World War I and II. Even if your kids haven’t shown interest in military history before, there are a lot of great lessons to be learned on this ship (engineering and science, social studies, physics, health). Oh – and it is fun!

Battleship Texas Trivia

  • Battleship Texas is the second ship that has sailed under the name “USS Texas”
  • The TEXAS received the first commercial radar in the U.S. Navy in 1939.
  • It fought in both WWI and WWII and provided naval support at D-Day, the Battle of Iwo Jima, and the invasion of Okinawa.
  • The Battleship Texas is the last surviving Dreadnought battleships, which were the predominant battleship of the early 20th century. The primary feature of this type of battleship is that the guns onboard are all heavy caliber guns. The USS Texas is a super Dreadnought.
  • The ship became a museum ship almost immediately after WWII, being towed to the San Jacinto area in 1948.
  • The Texas State Legislature oversaw the Battleship Texas until the early 1980’s when they transfered it to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD)
  • She had a crew of 1,820

Battleship Texas Photos

Deck of the USS Texas docked in Houston Texas

You can walk the length of the deck of the Battleship Texas.

Deck guns on the USS Texas in Houston

Being a Battleship, there are lots of guns on the deck to touch and examine.

USS Texas guns on deck in Houston

You can even get on the guns and readjust them to aim at passing boats.

Mailroom on the Battleship Texas in Houston

Down below the deck, you can see how each battleship was a floating city. Everything needed was contained within. Β This is the mailroom.

Prophylactic room on the Battleship Texas

No really, EVERYTHING they needed was on board.

Bunks on the Battleship Texas

It is hard to imagine how all the sailors lived on a ship until you see how they are stacked. So little room for enlisted men!

Officers mess on Battleship Texas

Officers had nicer stuff and way more room. This was their dining area.

One last look at the Battleship Texas in Houston.

The Engine Rooms of Battleship Texas

A really great video showing the engine rooms, as well as explaining the science behind them.

Visiting the Battleship Texas Historical Site in Houston

Fees – The admission fee is $12 per adult (12 & up), with children entering free. That’s a pretty steep entry for a state park, so consider getting a TPWD annual pass. For $70, you get unlimited Texas state park visits for you and your carload of guests. If a family of 4 with two teenagers visits ($48), you are more than halfway to your break even point. Add a visit to nearby Galveston Island State Park at $5 per adult (total $20), and you have just paid for your pass. All your other Texas State Park visits that year will be free.

Tip – During a lot of the year, under the deck can get pretty warm. Bring water. You’ll be glad you did!

Directions – Take I45 south or 59 south to Beltway 8, Sam Houston Tollway, or continue south to Highway 610. Take Beltway 8 or Loop 610 east, and then south, crossing the Houston Ship Channel. Exit Highway 225 east, Texas Independence Highway, to La Porte. Exit Independence Parkway/Battleground Road and turn left. When the road divides into two roads, remain in the left lane, continue through the tall stone park gates, and turn right into the park.

View Larger Map

Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept’s Battleship Texas Website

  1. Michele {Malaysian Meanders} 24 July, 2013

    My husband grew up near the Battleship and would often bike over there with his brothers. I remember it fondly from my own school field trips there and taking my own children there a few years ago. They loved sitting on the big guns, too. Somehow, I don’t remember the Prophylactic Room. That’s so funny.

    • Amy Moore 25 July, 2013

      Yeah, the kids ran right by the Prophylactic Room while my husband and I had a teenage giggle between us.

  2. Lisa @ Raising Explorers 25 July, 2013

    Woah those bunks make me claustrophobic just looking at them! Always in awe of such engineering feats.

  3. Muza-chan 25 July, 2013

    Interesting museum. I wish to visit someday…

  4. Tonya {The Traveling Praters} 25 July, 2013

    We’ve always enjoyed visiting battleships and similar museums. The first one we saw was the USS Wisconsin in Norfolk, VA. At the time of our visit, we were only permitted on deck. My boys were so disappointed because they really wanted to explore the ENTIRE ship.

  5. noel 25 July, 2013

    Hi Amy,

    What a fun trip and history, wow can you image how stinky the bunk areas would be when guys are stacked up in the bulkhead like that? I’d rather be an officer πŸ™‚

    • Amy Moore 25 July, 2013

      Yeah, the officers got their own rooms and at least some of them were large enough to have a desk in them. Huge difference!

  6. Debbie @ European Travelista 25 July, 2013

    How very interesting! We usually tour battleships too. They are so interesting. I wouldn’t want to sleep on one of those bunks, though.

    • Amy Moore 25 July, 2013

      I had a hard time at summer camp, and those bunks were like a luxury suite compared to what these guys had! But I guess war isn’t supposed to be summer camp πŸ™‚

  7. budget jan 25 July, 2013

    What a great idea. Kids would just love it. I would not like to have been a sailor on board sleeping stacked like sardines πŸ™‚

  8. Marcia 26 July, 2013

    My nephew would like the USS Texas.
    Wonder when they’d have time to use the Prophylactic Room…seeing that made me laugh, like it did you and your husband. Thanks for the tour, Amy.

  9. Lisa 28 July, 2013

    We have visited one war ship this Summer and will be exploring 3 more this week. They are a great way to get the kids interested in history because they can really experience how things were at that time. My kids would love this ship! Thank you for the tour!!

  10. Jacqui@papaandmayhem 10 August, 2014

    Glad I found out about this on your site. Will add it to our todo list especially as we have just visited HMS Belfast on The Thames. Will be great to compare them.