USS Lexington Museum
Corpus Christi, Tx
June 28, 2017
Having browsed the amazing Texas State Aquarium with its amazing marine life, breathtaking decor, lively dolphins, fascinating wildlife and hands-on, multimedia exhibits, we check it off our list of “places to visit” and step outside where I see the USS Lexington moored, nearby. It looks almost close enough to touch.
“Oh, good,” I say, nudging Jeff. “There’s the ship over there. Let’s just walk.”
“Think again, babe. It’s farther away than it looks.”
So, after a longer drive than we had expected, we pull into the Lexington parking lot, and hop onto a shuttle that the admission booth. As we have come to expect, the cost for two senior tickets is short of $13, but, hey, even that price doesn’t seem too steep for peak tourist season on Corpus Christi’s North Beach. And, just as I was eager to visit the aquarium, Jeff has been hankering to see the Lexington Museum.
Upon entrance to the ship, Jeff and I study the map that we picked up at the admission booth and find that the hangar deck is divided into three areas: Bay 1, including the foc’sle and the Joe Jessel 3D Mega Theater, in the bow end of the ship. Bay 2 containing virtual battle stations and a stage. Bay 3, located toward the fantail, encompassing a souvenir shop called “Ship’s Store” and a flight simulator. Both of these areas we find on the starboard, or right side. On the fantail end, or the stern, is the mess deck where we share a cinnamon roll and an iced tea before time for the 3D film at the Joe Jessel 3D Mega Theater for films of the USS Lexington in action during World War II, showing airplanes from all branches of the Armed Services, submarines, and lots of bombs exploding in the ocean. It was spectacular!
Yes, the USS Lexington is now a museum, but let us never forget that it is still an actual U.S. Navy ship in every way, with stairs at right angles with the floor and portals that can really trip you up if you don’t step lively. And when I say “you”, I mean me. Especially me. As I hug the rails on the way downstairs, I marvel at the young, agile sailors who once clambered up and down those same stairs, back then. As Jeff and I wander from one section to the next — the chapel, the galleys, the medical and dental bays, the bunks, and the library — my screenwriter’s vision imagines a slapstick-chase scene in which two bumble-brains trip, stumble, and tumble up and down those stairs and over one portal after another as they scramble up and down those narrow death-defying stairs in hot pursuit of each other.
Last, we wander out on the flight deck together to see planes from the Air Force, Navy, Marines, and Army on display. As I sit on a bench and rest, Jeff waves at me from the upper decks.
As we straggle off the ship, my last words, “Thank God for the shuttle” come back to bite me as someone tells us that the shuttle has stopped running for the rest of the night. Thankfully, we have only a street to cross before we return to the parking lot and the comfort of our Ford F350 pickup. On our way off the parking lot, Jeff slips the required token into the box, and soon we are on our way back to Aransas Pass by way of Pepito’s Mexican Restaurant where Stephen brings Jeff a frosty beer and me, a satisfying ‘one-and-you’re-done’-sized frozen margarita and zesty enchiladas that satisfy our craving for Mexican food.
Now, on July 31, a little more than a month later, here we are in the country town of Comfort — near the heart of Texas Hill Country. Although we are heading westward after we leave here, we keep a running list of places we want to return to: The Texas State Aquarium, the USS Lexington Museum, and Pepito’s Restaurant are definitely on our list.
So, loyal readers, what is one of the greatest adventures you have ever taken? Please share it with us! Who knows — we might even see you there, again. We love positive comments, so feel free to leave yours in the “Leave a Reply” box at the end of this post.
Next up: some of our favorite places in the Hill Country. No telling where we, the ‘Vintage Honeymooners’ will wind up, but one thing’s for sure –wherever we go, fun is sure to follow.