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Battleship Hard-Hat Tours

NEAR LAPORTE, SOME 20 MILES EAST OF downtown Houston, San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site not only preserves the site where Texas won its independence, but also serves as home to the world’s last dreadnought, the classic warship Battleship TEXAS. Formally known as known as Battleship TEXAS BB35, the 27-ton ship served in both world wars, is credited with advancing the fields of aviation and radar, and even boasts a Hollywood pedigree, having had a starring role in 2001’s epic Pearl Harbor.

Weekend tours of the ship are available year round, but if you’re a visitor who wants to see parts of the ship not normally accessible to the public, here’s your chance: Sign up for one of Battleship TEXAS’ occasional hard-hat tours, which take place in 2006 on January 21, March 18, and April 29. (October and November 2006 dates have not been set yet; because it can be warm below deck, there are no special tours during the summer months.)

Featured areas of the behind-the-scenes tours include the ammo handling room, aft steering room, drying room, boiler room, main radio room, plotting room, forward dynamo room, forward distribution room, central station, #1 turret, and the pilot house. Tours ($30) are by reservation only and open to visitors age 14 and older; slots are limited. Call 281/479-2431, ext. 234; www.tpwd.state.tx.us and www.usstexasbb35.com (the unofficial site).

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From the February 2006 issue.

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