Historic Ships FAQs

Important Information to Know Before Your Visit 



Please scroll down to learn about what visitors are and aren't allowed to do aboard National Historic Landmark ships Cruiser Olympia and Submarine Becuna


Where are the ships located?
National Historic Landmark ships Cruiser Olympia and Submarine Becuna are located a short, two to three minute walk behind the Museum.  To access them (from the Museum building), you would exit the front doors, make a right, another right at the end of the building, and walk between the building and the boat basin until you reach the Hilton at Penn's Landing.  Once the hotel is in front of you, make a left and then continue straight until you see the ships' booth.

Where can we buy tickets for the ships? 
Admission for National Historic Landmark ship Cruiser Olympia can be purchased in advance online, at the front desk in the main building, or directly at the ships' ticket booth. 

Do you get access to both ships with the same ticket?
With the reopening of National Historic Landmark ship Submarine Becuna, ISM has adjusted its ticket offerings.  Access to Cruiser Olympia is included with your purchase of a ticket (as well as the Museum's building).  Access to Submarine Becuna will be through guided tour only and is an optional add-on to your admission ticket.  Click here to learn more.

Please note tickets are only valid for the day they they are purchased.  

How long does it take to visit?
We recommend normally planning to spend one hour on Cruiser Olympia.  Visitors do stay longer (or sometimes shorter) based on their interest level.  

Access to Submarine Becuna will now be offered as a guided tour option only.  Those tours are roughly 30-45 minutes long.

Are the National Historic Landmark ships ADA accessible? 
Unfortunately no, our two ships are not ADA compliant. 

Are there restrooms or changing stations aboard?
There are no public restrooms or changing stations aboard.  A public restroom is located across from the ships' ticket booth.  All visitors are encouraged to stop there before starting their visit. 

Are we allowed to eat aboard the ships?
Absolutely no food or drink is permitted aboard under any circumstance.  If, during the warmer months, you happen to purchase food at Spruce Street Harbor Park (or any other neighboring vendors), you must finish it prior to embarking. 

Can we bring strollers on the ships?
Strollers cannot be accommodated inside the ships, however strollers can be left on top of the submarine.*

*Independence Seaport Museum is not responsible for the loss, damage, or theft of strollers left unattended.  Visitors are leaving strollers unattended at their own risk.

I don't like enclosed spaces.  Can I send my child aboard by themselves?
Any child under the age of 12 must be accompanied by someone older than 18 at all times.  No exceptions. 

Is photography allowed?
Photography for personal use is encouraged.  For commercial photography of for filming inquiries, please contact us

I want to learn about Cruiser Olympia and Submarine Becuna before I visit.  Where can I go for more information?
The Museum has dedicated pages for both Cruiser Olympia and Submarine Becuna.  Additionally, the Museum has an online catalog which holds more information on both vessels.  Please click the links below to be redirected:

Cruiser Olympia

Submarine Becuna    

Online Catalog

What do we get to explore aboard?
Visitors will be able to explore the three decks that make up Cruiser Olympia.  The Spar deck (or top deck) of Olympia is subject to close due to inclement weather (freezing or rainy conditions, or any other situation that may arise where safety of visitors and staff are at risk). 

Is it possible to access areas that are off limits to visitors? 
Spaces below deck (such as the engine/boiler room, brig, dynamo room, etc.) are not open to the general public during normal operating hours.  However, Independence Seaport Museum has started offering behind-the-scene tours on both Cruiser Olympia and Submarine Becuna.  Please visit our calendar for up-to-date information. 

Do the ships need volunteers?
Yes!  We are always looking for volunteers aboard the vessels to help with projects and interact with the public.  If interested, please contact us and our volunteer coordinator will respond as soon as possible. 

Other helpful tips for your visit: 
It is advised that visitors wear comfortable shoes that can be worn on steep steps.  Shoes with excessively deep heels are strongly discouraged for the safety of our visitors and preservation of our ships. 

Ship tours are self-guided.  Along with interpretive signage placed throughout both vessels, shipskeepers are also aboard and more than happy to answer any question you might have!

Visitors are welcome aboard at the discretion of ISM staff.  Behavior which is boisterous, annoying to other visitors, destructive, or potentially harmful will not be tolerated.  Independence Seaport Museum reserves the right to ask guests to leave without refunding your ticket purchase.