USS Constellation visitors will have the chance to explore the only Civil War-era vessel that is still afloat. Built in 1854, this sloop-of-war started serving the needs of the US Mediterranean Squadron as soon as 1855. Between 1859 and 1861, she joined the fleet of the US African Squadron, helping to disrupt the slave trade. During the Civil War, the USS Constellation served to deter Confederate raiders. In the following decades, the historic ship was used to train Naval Academy midshipmen at Annapolis before being moved to Rhode Island to train WWI recruits. Other missions would follow in the 1900s, and in 1963, the ship was designated a National Historic Landmark.
In 1955, the USS Constellation was moved to its current site at Baltimore's Inner Harbor. Earlier that year she was decommissioned after serving the needs of the country for one hundred years. Thanks a multimillion dollar renovation in 1996, the USS Constellation in Baltimore Inner Harbor is a safe vessel. Now a museum, she hardly sails, with the preference being to keep her docked near the Harborplace entertainment complex. You can't miss the ships when exploring the Inner Harbor, and should you get the chance, you might choose to enjoy a tour. Most of the USS Constellation is accessible on the tours, and often times, tour guests will have the chance to participate in various demonstrations. The various demonstrations serve to illustrate what life was essentially like onboard during the 1800s.
When planning your visit to the USS Constellation in Baltimore Inner Harbor, you might consider the fact that the ship's lone cannon is fired at noon on a daily basis. Demonstrations begin before that, with the raising of the colors commencing at 10:30 a.m. Should you venture on board for a tour, you can take a look at the gun decks and even visit some of the wardrooms between demonstrations. Guides provide insight into the lives of sailors during the tours and go into detail about the ship's illustrious history. Self-guided tours can also be enjoyed if you prefer going that route.
There are four historic ships in Baltimore in total, and they can all be toured. Save for Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day, all four ships are open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. between the months of March and October, and from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. between the months of November and February. On occasion, extended hours are offered during the summer months. The other historic ships in Baltimore include the Submarine USS Torsk, the Lightship Chesapeake, and the USCG Cutter Taney. As is true of the USS Constellation, these ships are docked at the Inner Harbor near other great attractions such as the National Aquarium and the Baltimore Maritime Museum.
The USS Constellation at Baltimore Inner Harbor and the other historic ships that are also docked there are just some of the many museums that can be enjoyed on a trip to Maryland's largest city. When cultural enthusiasts aren't exploring the historic ships in Baltimore and visiting the other museums around town, they might take in a show at the Hippodrome Theater or see what's going on over at the Lyric Opera House. Heading over to nearby Washington D.C. is also an option, and there is no shortage of other cultural destinations in the region.