A Hunley tour to remember! Travel tips, photos and what kids love to do in North Charleston

The Hunley submarine, “the find of the century” is South Carolina’s most prized historic military possessions. So on your next Charleston vacation make sure to visit the Hunley, the world’s first submarine to sink an enemy ship.

Tours are offered Saturday from 10AM – 5PM and Sunday 12 – 5 PM. Tickets are $12 adults, $10 seniors, and free for kids 5 and under.

H.L. Hunley museum photos North Charleston

A real tight squeeze even for a child...

Things to know before you go

• The guided tour lasts about 20 minutes, most spent on a platform overlooking the conservation tank. Here you’ll be “bombarded” with all kinds of facts, figures and trivia that will make your head spin.

• For obvious conservation reasons you will not be able to get too close to the sub nor take any pictures once inside the lab area.

The Hunley tour is about to begin

People line up for the real tour

• Take your time in the exhibit gallery. Here you and the kids can play inside life-size submarine replicas, learn about the Hunley history, crew and recovery efforts, see amazing artifacts and even get your own golden lucky charm coin.

I really enjoyed watching the National Geographic documentary “Raising the Hunley”. Who knew there is still so much drama surrounding the sub discovery?

• The most difficult part is finding the museum! From I-526 take exit 19, then N. Rhett east until you reach the Park Circle roundabout. Take Sprull to McMillan where your turn left. McMillan will take you to the old Charleston Naval Base. Follow the (small) white signs to the Friends of the Hunley museum. Here is the Google Map.


What kids love to do inside the museum

No wonder they call it the Infernal Machine! The 4 by 3.5 foot cabin could barely fit 8 men; all sat hunched on benches cranking hard on a center shaft while the captain steered. One flimsy candle provided a glimmer of light…

Happy kid playing inside Hunley full size replica

Is not as easy as it looks...this is hard mom!

Just for kids fun activities…pretend you’re the captain of the mighty submarine!

Children games at Warren Lausch conservation center

Peekaboo! Hunley just for kids

Check out Pioneer, the first submarine build by the Hunley, McClintock and Watson trio. The 3-men submersible was fabricated from quarter-inch iron plates bolted to an iron frame.

Touching Pioneer replica at Charleston Hunley museum

It looks a little scary...

A small, hand turned spiral propeller at the stern provided mobility, while dividing planes on either side allowed the vessel to sink and rise as the crew desired.

Although Pioneer received a privateering commission from the Confederate government it didn’t have a chance to prove itself.

When Admiral Farragut captured New Orleans, Pioneer was scuttled so it will not fall into enemy hands. Unfortunately, it was soon discovered and dragged to shore by Union soldiers. The little torpedo boat was examined, sketched, and in 1868, auctioned away as scrap metal…

The battle mystery begins! What ever happened to the submarine? Learn all about the clues, theories, legends and the incredible forensic analysis.

Mesmerized child at HL Hunley Conservation Center

Wow! Can you believe this?

More fun family attractions in the area

• The American LaFrance Fire Museum has the best fire show in town (free for kids, $6 adults).

• Isle of Palms beach and park feature the best playground and free outdoor family recreation in the Charleston area.

• Fort Moultrie, a cradle of heroism and southern ingenuity (free for kids, $3 adults).

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3 Responses

  1. Hope that you enjoy your time while in Bali 🙂

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