We recently moved to Louisiana so my teenager is doing virtual school this year until we’re all settled in. Since he’s got such a flexible schedule we decided to drive over to Baton Rouge (the Louisiana state capitol) and visit the USS Kidd – one of America’s most famous fighting ships.
A few years ago my husband took the kids to explore the Intrepid, but unfortunately I was tied up at a work event so I didn’t get to go. So the USS Kidd was the first military ship I had ever explored. It was just as cool as I had imagined! She is 376 feet long and was named after Rear Admiral Isaac C Kidd Sr who was killed on the ARIZONA during the famous Pearl Harbor attack.
I love that the USS Kidd is one of the most authentically restored vessels in the world! She is restored back to her August 1945 state. You can’t miss her location! She’s right off of the Riverfront area, a beautiful place for hiking and even picnicking across from the old state capitol building (another great place to visit!)!
The ship was specially customized so that it would dry dock itself when the river is low, and float when the river is high!
Where to Start When You Visit:
Before you get on the ship, however, you will need to purchase your ticket inside the museum which is the building (on land) in front of the USS Kidd. Just look for the signs! It is also surrounded by some pretty cool aircraft so again, you can’t miss it! The ticket admission includes the museum (I recommend doing that first) and of course, the ship.
Accessibility on the USS Kidd:
The ship is not very accessible to those who aren’t fit enough to maneuver tight spaces and steep stairwells. This is just one of MANY stair sets you will climb both up and down on. It’s probably best for ages 5+ if they are comfortable using stairs and easily stepping over things.
**You MUST be wearing closed toed shoes to explore the ship. High heeled shoes are not allowed!**
What to See on the USS Kidd:
During your self-guided tour on the USS Kidd you can see:
- Depth Charge Projectors
- Twenty Millimeter anti-aircraft guns
- passage w/supply office, sickbay and emergency radio
- unrestored spaces
- galley for 300 men
- vegetable prep space
- Starboard Breakwater – site of kamikaze hit
- Officer’s messroom/wardroom
- forward deck and anchoring gear
- Gunfire control Radar Room
- food service area
- scullery and emergency diesel generator and sonar amplifiers
- Chief Petty Officer’s Mess and Quarters
- Officer’s staterooms
- Executive Officer’s Stateroom and Chief Engineer’s Stateroom
- Interior Communications and Gunfire Control Computer
- Radar Equipment Room
- Combat Information Center and Officers Wardroom
- Captain’s Stateroom and Small Arms Locker
- Radio Central and Chartroom
- Starboard Pilothouse and Bridge
- Port Signal Bridge and Depth Charge Release Levers
- Starboard Flag bag
- Forward Smokestack and Searchlight Platform
- Amidships Quad Forty Millimeter Gun Mounts
- five inch 38 caliber gun mount and barbershop
- radar jamming room
- aft main deckhouse and crew’s washroom
- five inch gun three ammunition handling room
- aft fanroom and passageway
- Fletcher museum honoring 175 sisterships
- VariousCrews Quarters
Walking through the USS Kidd is absolutely stepping back in time. It was such a cool experience and I was so glad that I had toured the museum first and read the first hand accounts of Louisiana natives who served on the USS Kidd. Definitely take the time in the museum to read every single plaque on the walls – the stories are absolutely phenomenal!
Believe it or not they actually allow groups to spend the night on the USS Kidd! They also have free printable lesson plans and resources for teachers on their website. Don’t live nearby? Take the virtual tour instead!
When we bought our tickets they handed us a map of the ship to help navigate through the different rooms. The day we visited, however, they were renovating and shifting doors open and closed based on the bad weather we were having so although most rooms were marked, it was a little confusing to follow!
Here is the kitchen area! You’ll also read about the story of how the USS Kidd “accidentally” received a fancy new ice maker machine and how they bartered for ice cream mix during their port stays!
The machine room was impressive and reminded me of my husband’s grandpa who worked with machinery in his younger years! The USS Kidd is the only ship on exhibit in the wartime camouflage paint “Measure 22” which was used for the planned invasion of Japan. the combat colors cause ship to blend with sky above horizon.
Although the USS Kidd launched on February 28, 1943, it was hit by a kamikaze plane on April 11, 1945 which crashed into the ship killing 38 crewmen and wounding 55. She earned 8 battle stars and survived the most intensive anti-air warfare environment in history. She went on to serve our country for almost 20 years.
The day we visited the USS Kidd in Baton Rouge we had pretty severe weather shortly after we left, so the ship had very few visitors that morning. We were one of the only ones around. My son had the awesome opportunity to “test out” moving the gunnery around which was (as expected) incredibly heavy!
It was really a special opportunity as the USS Kidd is one of the last surviving Fletcher class destroyers built between 1942-1944. She was the backbone of the US destroyer force in WW2 and equipped to attack surface vessels of all sizes, submarines, aircraft, and even shore invasion!
Our visit was an awesome way to bring history alive for my son – both by reading the first hand accounts of those who served on this ship as well as touring and being able to see and touch its equipment.
Other Historical Places to Explore: