SAN PEDRO (CBS) — The Battleship USS Iowa opened to the public Saturday as a permanent floating museum in the Port of Los Angeles.
Thousands were expected to attend the debut of the “Big Stick” and hundreds had already lined up by 9 a.m. to enter the 889-foot museum in San Pedro.
The retired World War II battleship — built back in 1940 — was commissioned in 1943 and is the only battleship with a bathtub that was built for President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
The nonprofit Pacific Battleship Center raised about $9 million to move and restore the ship, which is three football fields in length, 108 feet wide and up to 50,000 tons.
The money raised included $3 million from the state of Iowa.
Bryan Moss, a former USS Iowa crew member, told CBS2′s Louisa Hodge that anticipation filled the air as people awaited to enter the ship.
“I was 18 when I first went out of boot camp and grew up on the thing. When it was recommissioned in 1984 for the Gulf War, they did a lot of modernization. Took off some guns and put some missile launchers and so forth on. It has a different character now,” he said.
The vessel is scheduled to be open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with the exception of Thanksgiving and Christmas.
General Admission tickets for adults ages 18-61 are $18 and $10 for those ages 6-17. Seniors (62 and up) will get in for $15. For more information, visit the Pacific Battleship Center online.