Down Periscope: Exploring the Submarine Museum

We headed off to the Nautilus museum bright and early this morning.  I've been wanting to bring the boys to see the submarine and the museum for quite some time (OK the whole three years we've been homeschooling!) but we just never seemed to make it there.  There's nothing quite like learning history through fun field trips!

We arrived and had a great time searching through the museum.

They loved the control room replica where they could play with the buttons, pretend to lower and raise the sub, and pretended to order pizzas to go!  They also had fun looking through the periscopes and spotting our cars in the parking lot as well as turning them around and seeing the water, the submarine, and the sights of Groton.

We walked around the rooms reading various signs and checking out things like torpedoes, mission logs, personal effects and more.  We eventually made our way out to the submarine and each received listening devises for self- guided tours.

There are 5 different pre- recorded messages about the various components of the ship.  We learned about the living quarters, the mess halls, the control rooms; it was great.

Once off the ship they went right back to the control room replica and played for quite some time.

We finally got them all to the other end of the museum and we learned about modern submarines and torpedoes.  Ian was drawn to the ones depicting World War II and we talked about the changes in technology over time.

The kids were getting antsy and hungry so we started heading out and they played outside for a bit longer.  They took turns manning the gun and we walked around to see the various submarines that were placed outside.  We learned about small piggyback submarines and got to see a Japanese submarine too.  It was a fun way to learn a little bit about history.

We arrived! 

The control room 

checking the view outside through the periscope 


Getting to see inside a sub with explanations of each room 

Looking out the window onto the water 

Reading about the secret mission of the Nautilus 

Manning the guns 

An elevator made for Kennedy to get on and off the submarine;
he had back injuries that prevented him from using the ladder 

Inside the sub-- officer's mess hall 

We saw these same flags at Mystic Seaport! 

The first stairs installed in a sub in place of the traditional ladders 

Ian was amazed at how cramped the living quarters were 

The crews mess hall was multi- purpose! 

Back in the control room playing with buttons and levers 

Another model inside a newer sub; each station lights up

Learning about long range missiles 

Looking at the missiles and technology of World War II

Comparing that technology to the cold war

The kids had a ball on this gun; raising and lowering the cannons

Sometimes on each other! 

A SEAL submersible for secret missions 
The long black submarine in the very back is a Japanese sub like the one used to
bomb Pearl Harbor-- I made sure to draw all three boys attention to that one! 
The kids were finished with the museum in just an hour and a half.  

I'm sure there was a lot more we could have learned but with few hands on "things" to keep their attention they eventually got bored.

I don't force my kids to pay attention to everything when we're on a field trip.  I look to see where their interests lie and I'll occasionally bring their attention to something I found interesting.  Mostly, though I just follow their lead and figure that something new will catch their attention each time we visit a place and that they'll build up a larger pool of knowledge over time.

The kids were not nearly so excited about saying good-bye to one another though so we all went to a near-by park and spent the next 4 hours visiting, playing and having fun.  

One of the families brought their new puppy and all the kids had fun playing with her.  They made up games, ran around, climbed, jumped, and slid all around.  They even got a special treat once the ice cream truck showed up.

It was a fabulous day.
Taking the puppy for a walk 

Running around tired everyone out! 

Playing on the playground 

They had fun discovering a new park with new obstacles 

Nap time! 

Ian wants a puppy-- he just loved Libby! 

 Evan had fun and giggled a lot over Libby's playfulness 

Swinging and snacking on ice cream!  What a great way to end the day!


  1. It must have been so interesting going inside a submarine - I have vague memories of doing this as a child although I can't remember where. Sarah #ExplorerKids

    1. It was amazingly tight quarters and I'm really not sure how they lived on the for months. I don't think I could... then again I could not feel comfortable on a boat under the water anyway.

  2. My kids would love to visit a submarine. I'll have to see if we have anythhhg like this in the U.K. #ExplorerKids

    1. It was really neat and so informative. I know of a few different cities that have old submarines available for touring in the US so hopefully there is some in the UK too. My husband and I went on one in Charleston, SC this past summer too (though it was much smaller than this one).

  3. Submarines are so interesting! #ExplorerKids

  4. What a great day out! I can't think of a submarine visit in the UK. I don't even know that there is one?! I must google it up. Interesting to see that long range missiles could hit Thailand too! OMG! I think its important we teach our kids this kind of history and what it had taught us. I saw a problems a long while ago about what they teach Japanese kids in their history class. There was noting mentioned about WWII at all. Wow! How can we forget?!

    Looks like its a fun day for the boys and they get to play with Libby the pub too. I love that photo of Ian with Libby. So precious! <3

    Thank you very much for linking up with us on #ExplorerKids

    1. It was such a neat day out. I find now that I am teaching history to my boys that I am learning so much! I try to teach history from both sides; when I can, and am amazed at all that has been left out of our history books.

  5. I love history and I love field trips, so this looks fab to me! And playing in the park, too, lovely 😊👍
    We visited a sub in Malmoe, South Sweden, about 18 months ago (before we moved and started home ed etc.). It was cool, but I was glad it wasn't sitting under water, and it was soooo tight for space in there! #ExplorerKids

    1. I was glad that while our sub was sitting in the water we weren't UNDER water; that makes me so nervous with every sound. It is so tight for space and I could not help but think how do they do it?!


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