SCOUTS ON TOUR
Please note: All costs cited are for purposes of estimating only - actual charges may and probably will vary.

Alabama


Battleship Alabama:

Troops can stay on the World War II era Battleship USS Alabama in Mobile. It is periodically advertised in Scouting Magazine and there is a website at http://www.ussalabama.com/. A nights stay is just $12 a scout and includes a tour of the USS DRUM (Submarine). It is just outside of Mobile and there are a number of good low cost Buffets to take the Scouts to. Also nearby is Fort Pickens National Military Park on Santa Rosa Island. The USS Alabama visit is even going to get better. Work is now being completed on a new Museum and IMAX theater right next to the parked Battleships.

Pensacola - Naval Air Station:

At Pensacola troops can stay for free at the Naval Air Station's barracks (Air Conditioned group quarters), or bring their own tentage and stay at the group camping area.

As is the case at most military bases, food in the dining hall is inexpensive. The view is great (overlooks the Gulf of Mexico, awesome view). Scouts will enjoy the weekend free visiting hours of the Land Survival School. It was at this very school that Col. Scott O'Grady (the Air Force Pilot who was shot down & survived uncaptured in Bosnia for five days) learned how to do that. Of the joys of learning which bugs to eat! Nearby the U.S. Department of the Interior operates Fort Barrackis which was held by the Confederacy throughout the Civil War, it is across the bay from another fort which the Union Controlled.

Finally the National Naval Aviation Museum is here at the NAS base. It too is free, it is huge, and has a wonderful gift shop. The Aircraft Carrier U.S.S. Saratoga, just decommissioned from active duty, is also nearby for practice take off and landings by NAS school personnel.

Huntsville:

The U.S. Space & Rocket Center at Huntsville Alabama is Boy Scout Space Exploration Central. The Greater Alabama Council has an annual Scout Merit Badge Day there one Saturday in October of each year. On any weekend you are bound to see tons of Scouts in the area because the trip is just that good.

Stay at Redstone Arsenal military base, same great free barracks & cheap meals as described above. The Museum is an all day affair. There are four parts to the trip. The first is the Museum itself which has more than 200 hands on experiments, games, computer simulations, etc. Out back is the Rocket Park where Scouts can see full scale models of many of the vehicles of U.S. Space Exploration. The IMAX theater features great films (try Destiny in Space or The Dream is Alive. L-5 and Mission to Mars are also good). Finally you can board a tour bus and be driven on an incredible five stop tour that takes your Scouts onto the Marshall Space Flight test center. Here you can see the spot (On the National Register of Historic Places) where Dr. Werner Von Braun tested the very first Mercury Redstone Rockets, also Mission Control for various missions, and the Neutral Buoyance Simulator, a huge underwater tank where Astronauts train for different missions. Needless to say, this is *THE* place to do Space Exploration Merit Badge, be sure to start a few weeks before the trip with the Model Rocket Building Requirements to help build interest in the trip. Some troops scrap traditional summer camp and do the week long Space Camp (it is expensive and is perpetually booked up months in advance).


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