The Lexington was turned over to the City of Corpus Christi by the US Navy on November 26, 1991. The ship was donated as a museum on June 15, 1992, and it now operates as the “USS Lexington Museum on the Bay” at 2914 North Shoreline Boulevard in Corpus Christi, Texas. In the forward aircraft elevator space, a MEGA theater (like IMAX) was added. In 2003, Lexington was designated a National Historic Landmark. The ship is meticulously maintained, and every few years, previously restricted areas of the ship are made available to the public. The catapult room is one of the most recent examples of this.
The ship’s World War II-era gun battery is also being restored in part with guns salvaged from scrapped ships. Five of these are particularly noteworthy “The heavy cruiser Des Moines’ /38 DP gun turrets were saved from scrapping. They’ve been installed in the general areas where similar mounts once existed as part of the ship’s original World War II fit. Following the overhaul of the coast guard cutter Dauntless, her 3 “Onboard the Lexington, a /50cal gun was displayed.
The USS Lexington is a must-explore museum when you visit Port Aransas for the first time. This is precisely one of the best attractions of the place that you must tick in your travel bucket list.
A Brief History
USS LEXINGTON CV-16-Aircraft Carrier was given her commission in 1943 and went on to break more records than any other Essex Class carrier in the annals of naval aviation history. When it was finally decommissioned in 1991, the ship held the title of the oldest working carrier in the United States Navy. The USS CABOT was the previous name of the Essex-class carrier that is now known as the LEXINGTON. During World War II, the final construction was being finished at the Fore River Shipyard in Massachusetts when word came in that the USS Lexington, CV-2, the original carrier, had been sunk in the Coral Sea. The new airline has adopted the name LEXINGTON for its brand.
LEXINGTON joined Pearl Harbor’s Fifth Fleet after training and a shakedown cruise. On April 26, 1944, Central Pacific Force became the Fifth Fleet. The carrier participated in nearly every major Pacific Theater operation and spent 21 months in combat. Her planes destroyed 372 airborne and 475 ground-based enemies. She destroyed or damaged 300,000 tons of enemy cargo. Ship’s guns downed 15 planes and helped down 5 more.
Four times, according to Japanese reports, LEXINGTON sank. Tokyo Rose has nicknamed her “The Blue Ghost” because she always returned to fight to include names such as honors ship, crew, and air groups. LEXINGTON was decommissioned after WWII (1947-1955) where she rejoined the Seventh Fleet in San Diego. LEXINGTON remained offshore during Formosa, Laos, and Cuba tensions.
In 1962, she sailed to Pensacola, Florida, and began training as CVT-16, Navy Training Carrier. Corpus Christi is honored to host this national treasure. Additionally, the North Beach of this amazing city is one of the top beaches that you can dive into.
USS Lexington General Statistic
The crew is 1,550 men and women; during WWII, there were approximately 3,000 members in total. The length at the water line is 880 feet and the length of the flight deck is 910 feet. The height (Water Line to Flight Deck) is 52 feet, and the maximum width is 196 feet. The draft is 30 feet measured from the keel to the water line. Displacement is 42,000 tons, with a speed of 30+ Knots 4,131 miles of range at the highest possible speed.
The Museum allows Self and Self-Guided Tours
Try out one of their guided group tours, such as the Flight Operations, Hard Hat, or Paranormal Tours, if you’re looking to enhance your experience while you’re on board. These unique behind-the-scenes tours are led by LEX Volunteers and can be scheduled upon request; however, to coordinate the tour and collect a payment, they require a minimum of two to three business days.
They have set up five different routes for those who wish to go on their own exploration; these routes cover a total area of 100,000 square feet and eleven decks. Explore at your own pace and discover the many stories behind the LEX. You can go in any order you like, but you absolutely must see everything. Each tour is one of a kind and includes interactive exhibits that will bring your adventure to an entirely new level.
If you have any questions along the way, keep an eye out for some volunteers who are wearing yellow shirts where many of whom served on the USS Lexington. They are extremely knowledgeable about the ship and will be happy to help you.
Some of The Interesting Attraction
1. Pearl Harbor: Course of Valor
On Tour Route 2 in the ship’s foc’sle is a cutting-edge multi-media exhibit that features a film montage that retells the story of the attack on Pearl Harbor. This exhibit completely immerses you in this historic and devasting event. A graphic map of Pearl Harbor at a scale of 1/2400 is used to set the scene, and there are models of the ships docked in position, just as they were on the day of that catastrophic attack.
Realistic battle animations, a sound system with 8,000 watts, and transducers that shake the walkway with each rumbling explosion bring the action to life in front of your very eyes as the events take place. The famous address that President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave to Congress on “A Date Which Will Live in Infamy” can be heard coming from a radio model from 1941 that is playing in the background. To the side, you will see the Japanese plan of attack.
2. Joe Jessel 3D Mega Theater
The Joe Jessel 3D MEGA Theater is an immersive experience that will take you on incredible journeys thanks to its screens that are three stories high and its thunderous digital sound. You will get as close as you possibly can to the real thing, complete with sight, sound, and an educational look into the actual action of aviation, flight, and history, thanks to the stadium seating that accommodates 193 people.
It features a brand-new system which is the world’s most powerful and brilliant cinema projector. This flagship laser projector offers brightness that is comparable to that of the brightest xenon projector. The brightness levels produce an experience that is unmatched in 3D, displaying movies in the exact way the director of the film envisioned them.
If you have already paid to enter the ship, you do not need to pay again to enter the MEGA Theater. The theater is accessible for guests using wheelchairs and provides closed captioning using CaptiView for guests who have hearing impairments.
3. The Scale Model
The gallery of scale model works of art will astonish individuals who have a passion for warplanes, ships, and the stories that are represented by them. This is the largest model collection that has ever been shown to the public in Texas. It took five years to put together, and there are more than 440 pieces on display. This must-see exhibit was created by over 120 skilled volunteers who worked together to create it over the course of many thousands of hours. The exhibition features work by artists from 16 states in the United States and 5 countries from around the world. The USS Lexington is pleased to offer the visitors to this proud ship the opportunity to view this historic gallery.