Spend a day (or night) with the big guns (without the big crowds)

If you're looking to add a little bit of awesome, impressive and spectacular to your next outing, make sail for Battleship Cove in Fall River.

And there's no better time than fall to visit — the weather is beautiful and the summer crowds have thinned.

The focal point of Battleship Cove is the majestic USS Massachusetts, known as "Big Mamie" to her crew during World War II, whose big guns were believed to have fired the U.S. Navy's first and last 16-inch shells of WWII.

"When everyone comes on board the USS Massachusetts, the wow factor is the guns — those huge 16-inch guns are right in your face!" said Paula Hague, Group Sales Manager at Battleship Cove.

Battleship Cove has the world's largest collection of historic naval ships — right in Fall River. In addition to the battleship, you can also tour the destroyer USS Joseph P. Kennedy Jr., known by her crew as the "Joey P.," a submarine, the USS Lionfish, and a pair of PT boats. All of the ships are national historical landmarks.

"People are amazed by the battleship because of the pure size of it — it's massive! But everyone really loves the sub because it is so different. It is a very confined space and really a bit claustrophobic. Just try to imagine working in such a limited space and being under water and not being able to go outside!"

The expansive size of the USS Massachusetts is impressive — it's like a floating city. The ship had everything you'd find in a big city — a carpenter's shop, an incinerator, a bakery, a dentist's office, even a tailor's shop.

"The biggest hit for the sailors was the gedunk, which is what they called the ice cream parlor," Hague said. "It was the only place on the ship where, no matter who was in line, nobody could cut in front, even an officer."

Chances are you'll meet a veteran or two on your visit — and maybe even a surviving crew member of Big Mamie! In fact, next June will be the 69th reunion of the crew members with about 20 sailors who served expected to attend.

For groups, Battleship Cove offers its extremely popular "Nautical Nights" maritime camping program where the kids sleep in the four-high bunks and eat in the officer's ward.

Battleship Cove is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Admission is $17 for adults, $15 for seniors and AAA, $10.50 for children aged 6-12 with children under 6 free. Active military with ID is $8.50 and US Military Veterans with ID are $15. Military in uniform are always free.

URL: www.battleshipcove.org
Phone: 508-678-1100
Address: 5 Water St., PO Box 111, Fall River, MA 02721