Docked at Pier 45, the USS Pampanito is a historical treasure often overlooked by the hordes of tourists that flock to the Fisherman’s Wharf area. This World War II submarine has been restored to look just as it did in 1945, representing the height of submarine development during the war. During its six patrols in the Pacific, the Pampanito’s crew sank four Japanese submarines and damaged four others.
Today the USS Pampanito is open seven days a week for public tours. Visitors can explore the boat from stem to stern and follow along with a self guided audio tour in which actual crew members recount their experiences aboard. Squeezing through the tight spaces of the submarine surrounded by dials, valves, pipes, and gauges, it’s amazing to consider that sailors sometimes spent six months within the ship’s confines. Space was so tight that even the torpedo room doubled as a bunk area, so maneuvering through the sub’s narrow passageways can be quite an art.
The tour lasts approximately 40 minutes and is enhanced by old Big Band music playing through tinny speakers and the sound of water splashing up against the ship as it gently rocks. Though not recommended for anyone suffering from claustrophobia, touring the USS Pampanito is a great opportunity for war and history buffs alike.
- Open daily at 9am. Call 415-775-1943 for closing times
- Adults: $10, Children 6-12: $4, Seniors: $6, under 6: Free, Military: $4
- Metro Stop:
- Powell-Hyde Street Cable Car starts at SF Maritime and the Powell-Mason Street line starts 3 blocks from the Pampanito
- Location: Pier 45, Fisherman's Wharf, Taylor and Embarcadero Streets
- Phone: 415-775-1943
- Website: www.maritime.org/index.htm