Timeless Lowcountry Discovery

Patriot’s Point: Fun for Kids in Charleston

28 Aircraft, 3 Navy Vessels, 2 Space Capsules, Overnight Experiences, and More

One of the must-see places that’s fun for kids in Charleston is Patriot’s Point. Located in Mt. Pleasant near the base of the stunning Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, Patriot’s Point offers educational discovery for the entire family.

Patriots Point is the fourth largest naval museum in the country — and one of only two museums with more than two ships. It is ranked the state’s number one heritage attraction.

A must-see attraction in Charleston SC is the USS Yorktown, located across the Ravenel Bridge at Patriots Point.
The USS Yorktown, aka The Fighting Lady, was part of the anti-submarine warfare force that supported air strikes in the Vietnam War.

30+ Years of Service

The USS Yorktown was the tenth aircraft carrier to serve in the United States Navy. The ship was commissioned on April 15, 1943, and participated significantly in the Pacific Offensive that began in late 1943 and ended with the defeat of Japan in 1945. The Yorktown received the Presidential Unit Citation, and earned 11 battle stars for service in World War II. Much of the Academy Award-winning (1944) documentary The Fighting Lady was filmed on board the Yorktown.

Patriot’s Point includes three Navy vessels: the USS Yorktown — an aircraft carrier; the USS Laffey — a destroyer; and the USS Clamagore — a submarine which is easily seen from the ships, but temporarily closed for tour (as of February 2022.)

© Instagram @Patriots_Point

Patriots Point Museum also boasts 28 historical aircraft, a Vietnam Experience, Medal of Honor Museum, guided tours, group tours, and a flight motion simulator. The entire family will be immersed in WWII history when spending a fun-filled day at Patriot’s Point. 

The missing ship's horn from the USS Yorktown was once believed lost but since recovered, restored, and now blasts loudly for all to appreciate.

Learning the life of a sailor is great fun for kids in Charleston

Operation Overnight & Live Like a Sailor Programs were recently relaunched, giving kids and adults a chance to sleep like the sailors did, get behind the scenes look into WWII history, and watch those glorious sunsets and sunrises from the aircraft carrier over the Charleston harbor. 

Have you ever heard a carrier ship’s horn blast? Patriot’s Point features a brief video with curator, Melissa Buchanan, setting it off here.

Aboard Friendship 7, John Glenn was the first American to orbit Earth.
A replica of the Friendship 7 capsule entertains children while parents marvel in memory of John Glenn’s 1962 history making orbit around Earth. ©Alexandra Duncan

Historic Space Capsules

The two replica space capsules housed on the Yorktown are the Friendship 7, and the Apollo 8, both located in the Hanger Bay. Little ones love climbing inside the Apollo 8 with lights and sounds that get them ready for takeoff!

Discovering the Yorktown at Patriot's Point is fun for kids in Charleston.
Exploring an authentic replica of Apollo 8’s capsule is great fun for kids in Charleston aboard the USS Yorktown. ©Alexandra Duncan

February 20, 2022 is the 60th anniversary of the Friendship 7th’s launch from the John F. Kennedy Space Center. The launch and successful return to earth made history for astronaut John Glenn as the first American to orbit Earth. 

Wondering what is fun for kids in Charleston? Take them to see the Apollo 8 replica aboard the USS Yorktown at Patriots Point.
In December 1968 the USS Yorktown recovered Apollo 8’s capsule and astronauts after their successful first moon orbit. ©Instagram @Patriots_Point

More than military history

Extend your views to the sky in a helicopter. Offered by Fly-In Helicopters, the tours offer unique and unforgettable experiences looping around the USS Yorktown, the Ravenel Bridge, Fort Sumter, the Charleston Harbor, the local lighthouses, or even over Folly Beach. 

If you're looking for a great ghost tour in Charleston, consider the Haunted Yorktown with Bulldog.
Bulldog Tours offers several options, including a daytime Captains Tour and nighttime Haunted Yorktown tour. ©Bulldog Tours

Dive into the supernatural with Bulldog Tour’s Ghost Tour, the “Haunted Yorktown” and hear the stories of the American Heroes who lived, died, and are still rumored to be on board today. The tour gives you exclusive night time access to areas of the ship that are closed to the public, including access to the flight deck after dark.

A convenient water taxi operates between Mt. Pleasant (at Patriot’s Point and Charleston Harbor Marina), and several convenient downtown locations: Fort Sumter Visitor Center, South Carolina Aquarium and Waterfront Park.

©Alexandra Duncan

Museum tickets are available on Patriot’s Point’s website and at the physical location. 

With so many wonderful options and amazing things to do, exploring in and around Charleston is endless. For more ideas, consider these other features, or check out our Instagram and Facebook posts.