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Vacations can be nonstop fun, but when you have kids, sometimes you need to force yourself to find a playground and let the kids let off some steam. That is why Seawolf Park in Galveston TX was such a great find. Actually Seawolf Park is technically not on Galveston, it’s on its own separate Island, Pelican Island.
This means it will take you a few more minutes to get there from all the other destinations on Galveston Island. But it is worth it.
The main draw to the island was actually the Galveston Naval Museum. This museum is under some renovations right now but that didn’t stop our excitement.
There are actually two vessels that are in Galveston, The USS Cavalla WWII Submarine, and the USS Stewart Edsall Class Destroyer. In our case, during the renovations, they were free to enter. It made the experience a lot more fun.
- First off, there wasn’t the crowd. Just a few people exploring the ship’s main areas.
- Secondly, because they were refurbishing everything, so there were no museum-quality signs up. It was like exploring a shipwreck. Interpreting what you find based on previous knowledge.
Seawolf Park was named for the submarine crew that lost their lives during WWII. Having the two ships on the island create the unique parring of a predator sub and protector ship.
The USS Cavella Submarine
The USS Cavella on June 19th, 1944, sank the Japanese aircraft carrier Shokaku that was involved in the Pearl Harbor Attacks. This earned her the Presidential Unit Citation.
The USS Cavella was decommissioned after the war but brought back into service off. That is up until 1971 when she found her permanent home in Seawolf Park in Galveston TX.
The USS Stewart Destroyer
The USS Stewart was built as a “school ship,” designed to train student officers. It performed missions like escorting Preexistent Roosevelt in the presidential Yacht.
In 1944, she met up with the North Atlantic convoy making operations. In her 30 crossings, she saw a few run-ins with enemy submarines and aircraft.
What if found interesting was the number of different armaments on board. They had 3-50 caliber guns, tow quad 40mm guns, hedgehogs, K-guns, and depth charges. Onboard the vessel today, you can witness how these things were utilized.
The only places that were available to visit were the stuff above deck. I was fine with that because our experience on the Aircraft Carrier the USS Midway had us going through all kinds of crazy corridors.
We did not have to worry about that at all. We were still able to glimpse enough to get a feel for the ship. The only thing that would have made the experience better as a pamphlet or something to give us a little more information about everything.
The other great thing about the naval section of the island was Memorial Plaza. Alongside the ships, there are plaques telling the stories of those that lost their lives during the war effort.
They are not just a list of the dead, but stories of the brave crew that fought. One that stood out to me was a story about an officer that upon having his ship mortally disabled, let all of his crew off, knowing they would be captured.
In an effort to make sure that the enemy didn’t get ahold secrets he held, he took the submarine back out to be destroyed, going down with it.
Groups Rates: $6
Active Military: FREE
As much fun as it is to see Military vessels, we have to remember that this is a military establishment. While the USS Stewart didn’t see much action, it represents a place of great conflict.
So next time you visit a ship like this, make sure you and your kids are treating it with the proper respect they deserve.
Fishing on the Pier
The biggest draw to Seawolf Park for many of the locals is fishing. Every inch of the rocky shoreline and fishing pier are filled with lines in the water. We witness a few people bringing in some big catches.
But a lot of people were struggling with their lines on the rocky floor. There are pelicans in the area, just waiting for you to take your eye off your bait bucket. Keep an eye out!
Cost is anywhere from $9-$4 to fish up to 2 lines at a time.
The island is on the opposite side of the main port of Galveston, making it a perfect place to spot dolphins from the shoreline. This is the only place on the island that we could see them from shore.
The dolphins were all over the place, but their favorite thing to do is play in the bow wake of boats, especially large cruise ships.
We were there during some incredible fog, that caused all the ships to be stuck out at sea. When the fog finally lifted, all the ships came rolling in. Seawolf Park because of the prime spot for viewing both ships and dolphins.
The most exciting part of the entire trip for my kids was the playground. It is big in size and had plenty of other kids to play with.
My kids loved it so much when I told them, look dolphins they went “ok mom!” and went right back to playing. I’m not sure if they didn’t believe me or had other priorities.
The playground gave the kids a chance to explore while we got the change to chill on the sidelines, soaking in the sun and enjoying the view.
Other things to note about Seawolf Park
Parking is $6 in addition to any activity you wish to do. There is no camping there. And stick to walking paths. They have warning signs about Snakes.