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!
A really great video showing the engine rooms, as well as explaining the science behind them.
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.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept’s Battleship Texas Website