Explore a piece of America's naval and space exploration history when you visit the the historic aircraft carrier USS Hornet in the East Bay city of Alameda. Launched in 1943 and originally based in Alameda, the USS Hornet (CV-12) served in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, and played a pivotal role in the Apollo space program, recovering both the Apollo 11 space capsule and its astronauts after their voyage to the Moon in 1969.
On board the restored Hornet you'll find a variety of fascinating exhibits, including several aircraft of the types that could have served on board the carrier, including a World War II TBM Avenger, an FJ-2 Fury (the naval version of the famous F-86 Sabre), an F8U-1 Crusader, and more. You can also check out objects related to the Apollo space program, including an Apollo space capsule, the mobile quarantine facility from the Apollo 14 mission, and the SH-3H Sea King helicopter used in the movie Apollo 13 and the same type of helicopter that recovered the Apollo 11 and 12 astronauts to the Hornet.
If you're looking for a fun and unique overnight experience for the family, why not consider sleeping over at a museum? Local institutions including the California Academy of Sciences, the Aquarium of the Bay, and the USS Hornet Museum all offer exciting programs where families, youth groups, and classes can spend the night. It'll kind of be like the movie Night at the Museum, except that the dinosaurs and dioramas won't come alive after hours (we hope)!
The California Academy of Sciences launched its new Penguins and Pajamas program this summer. Kids 6 and over and their adult chaperones can camp out overnight at the museum on June 18, July 16, and August 13, 2010. Starting at 6:30 pm, overnight guests can explore the Academy after hours, attend a special penguin talk, and take in a planetarium show. Settle in for storytime before bed with cookies, milk, and Pierre the Penguin, the Academy's new children's book about its famous wetsuit-wearing penguin. Breakfast is in the Academy Café, and the whole experience ends at 8:30 am.