On our wanderings around Boston, while on the Freedom Trail, we crossed the bridge over the Charles River and entered Charleston. In Charleston, we had the opportunity to board and view the USS Constitution. For a ship built in 1794, it is a beauty. The wood is in spit shine shape, the paint looks fresh, and it is impossible to believe that this ship is over 200 years old.
For a ship this old it is hard to believe it not only still keeps water out, but continues to actively sail around Boston. While on our whale trip we caught sight of it out of port, and were really excited to see all 4 masts with sails up. While the USS Constitution still currently sails it is slotted to be put into dry dock soon.
When in port, the USS Constitution is available to board and view. There are two tour options available. The first is a do-it-yourself tour of the top deck. There are Navy officers available to answer questions about the boat; however, this is more have a quick look around at the cannons and such. The other option is a 30-minute tour that includes both the top deck and the deck below. This tour is lead by a naval official who tells you about the history and life on the USS Constitution and takes place about every 30 minutes.
The USS Constitution is made from live oak wood. This is a particularly hard type of wood and led to it acquiring its nickname, Old Ironsides. In the War of 1812, during cannon fire, the cannonballs bounced off with such force and observer stated, "It must be made of iron." It is open during the summer from Tuesday through Sunday, 10am to 5:50pm, and during the winter from Thursday through Sunday 10am to 3:50pm. It is a free attraction.
It is important also to note since September 11, there are security procedures that you must adhere to prior to being allowed entrance to the it. Make sure you allot enough time to get through security and to view the ship. We did not allow enough time and felt rushed during our visit to the ship. I would love to go back when I wasn't trying to rush to another location. The website for the USS Constitution is www.ussconstitution.navy.mil
In my opinion this is a great attraction for the whole family. Kids will love to visit the ship and dream of pirate adventures, while the adults are wrapped up in it true history.