Where To Tour an Operational Submarine This Summer

This article is part of our daily Regional Highlights series which features unique businesses, attractions and events around the South (outside of Georgia.)

2024 marks the 80th birthday of the USS Razorback, the longest serving combat front line submarine existing in the world today. It’s still 90 percent operational, but you can still take a tour of this behemoth.

Where To Tour an Operational Submarine This Summer
Courtesy of Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum

The USS Razorback made her official homecoming to North Little Rock, Arkansas in June 2004. Since May 2005, she has been open to the public for tours at the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum.

A tour of the submarine offers an in-depth look into the life of submariners during World War II and beyond. You’ll begin by exploring the exterior and learning about the submarine’s history, which includes its service in WWII, the Vietnam War, and the Cold War. The tour then moves inside, where you will climb down a 14 ft ladder through a narrow hatch, experiencing the tight and confined spaces that sailors had to endure​.

Inside, the tour covers various sections of the submarine, including the cramped living quarters, mess hall, kitchen, torpedo room, and control room.

Your guide provides insights into the challenging conditions, such as high temperatures and limited shower facilities, and explains how sailors shared bunks and coped with the rigors of submarine life.

Kids (and kids at heart) love the torpedo room, where you’ll see the sub’s weaponry… and the control room, which showcases the operational aspects of the submarine​.

The museum also features other naval exhibits, including the tugboat USS Hoga (seen in the foreground above.) which fought fires during the Pearl Harbor attack.

The museum is the only place other than Honolulu, Hawaii, to have two naval vessels that bookend World War II. Hoga is the last floating vessel that was in Pearl Harbor during the attack on December 7, 1941. The USS Razorback was in Tokyo Bay during the formal surrender of Japan, ending World War II.

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Where To Tour an Operational Submarine This Summer