Go BIG or Go Home
What Happens When A Small-Town Family Visits The "World's Largest"... Whatever!

World’s Largest Historic Naval Ship Exhibit, Fall River, MA

We’re not the most outdoorsy family. I think “glamping” (glamour camping) is my outer limit of roughing it. So guiding The Boy through Cub Scouts was a cunning exercise of dodging overnight camp outs for as long as possible. Until it became clear that he wouldn’t be able to get his Arrow of Light and move up to Boy Scouts without it.

Battleship Cove

Credit: BattleshipCove.com

So when his Pack scheduled an overnight trip to Battleship Cove which met the requirement, I quickly signed him up. Then nearly as quickly assigned Matt to the task of joining him. Hey, a little father-son getaway is a good thing every once in a while. Especially when the sleeping accommodations are simple canvas bunks stacked four high, with two feet clearance between each. Yep, time for some bonding with Dad.

So traumatized is Matt from the experience, he remains unable to bring the memories into his conscious state long enough to write a post. So I am interviewing him and The Boy to create a description.

Battleship Cove is the World’s Largest Historic Naval Ship Exhibit. They offer plentiful opportunities for the public to visit during regularly scheduled hours, as well as an excellent scouting program, Nautical Nights. This program includes classes on knot-tying, Morse Code and flag-folding, meals served in the battleship’s Officers’ Wardroom, and an overnight for up to 80 scouts sleeping in their bedrolls on the battleship’s main deck.

Cub Scout

Call me "Captain."

They also bring in story tellers, mainly veterans who regale campers with stories about the day-to-day operations of the vessels on which they served. The Boy still remembers the tales told by the war vet who spoke to his group, especially the story about the sailor who fell overboard!

A big part of the fun is getting up close to the 16″ guns, the 40MM mounts, the turrets and the superstructure. The kids can climb on the 40MM mounts, crank the handwheels, and explore every corner of the ships and subs.

These activities take place on the WWII battleship USS Massachusetts, affectionately known as Big Mamie. Now a National Historic Landmark, she holds the record as the heaviest ship ever launched in Quincy. She was delivered to the Boston Navy Yard in April 1942 and commissioned the following month. Other vessels open to exploration include the submarine Lionfish, the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. destroyer, and a high-speed Soviet missile corvette.

And now, the hard-hitting “Go BIG” interview:

Q: Me to The Boy: What was your favorite part of your trip?

A: The Boy: I liked the food. We had breaded chicken and mashed potatoes. The old guns were cool. You could pretend to fire them.

Q: Me: What was your least favorite part?

A: The Boy: The bathrooms. We almost bunked near the bathrooms, then luckily changed our minds.


World's largest anchor?

Q: Me to The Husband: What was your favorite part of your trip?

A: The Husband: There were lots of interesting nooks and crannies. Great for losing a kid.

Q: Me: What was your least favorite part?

A: The Husband: The closest Dunkin’ Donuts was about a half mile away. I missed it on the way there, and couldn’t leave once we boarded the ship. So I was forced to watch as crew members walked around with their cups of heavenly nectar. The coffee served on board didn’t cut it.

(Note: Matt is officially addicted to DD coffee. Luckily, Dunkin’ Donuts is the world’s largest coffee and baked goods chain, so it fits right in to our Go BIG lifestyle!)

Hey YOU! Go BIG:

Battleship Cove

5 Water Street, Fall River, MA 02721

(508) 678-1100


Watch where you're aiming that, kid.


  1. Fiona said,
    April 28, 2011 @ 7:40 am

    Trips with just dad always seem to involve food and a bit of drama! What a great experience for both of them. My husband and son stayed overnight at the Central Park zoo, not the BIGGEST anything, but lots of fun.

  2. Mike said,
    April 28, 2011 @ 12:12 pm

    Breaded chicken and Dunkin’ Donuts? There was a ship involved in this retreat, correct? 🙂

  3. April 29, 2011 @ 4:54 pm

    Not that I feel the need to defend myself, but if you haven’t been, you don’t understand… To Fiona’s point, actually, in my case, the more Dunkin’, the less drama (it is directly proportional, trust me). And yes, Mike, we did enjoy our bonding time, especially the talk by the veteran who was on the ship from the day it set sail until it was decommissioned! The sleeping arrangements, however, well, let’s just say I have a new found respect for our men and women in the military, especially the Navy.