A Fresh Take – A U.S. Naval Academy Tour
By Riley Hoaglin
We all know that the U.S. Naval Academy is our neighbor, but have you had the chance to take a tour of the breathtaking campus? I recently had the opportunity to experience a guided tour, and I can say the campus is spectacular. With so much history on view, a trip through the gates into “The Yard” takes you into another world.
I signed up for a guided group tour offered by the Naval Academy Visitor Center. The tour lasts about an hour and a half and takes you throughout the campus. The tour guide I had was entertaining and extremely knowledgeable. You will start your tour from the Visitor Center front desk, and the first stop is the famous goat mascot, “BIll.” (Bill the Goat is so famous that he has a listing on Wikipedia!) There are many fun stories regarding the origin of Bill, many of which involve beating Army, but you will have to go on the tour to hear those!
My favorite aspect of the tour was seeing real, impactful objects of American history right there in real life — not virtual! (although there is plenty of information also available online from home). In the middle of one of their courtyards are two torpedoes from World War II. I learned that the torpedoes traveled at speeds of up to 50 knots but only went straight, leading ships to maneuver in zig-zag patterns to avoid being hit.
Another impressive piece of history was hanging from the ceiling of Dahlgren Hall — a replica of the first Naval plane. The plane was a Wright Biplane and was flown by Lieutenant John Rogers.
I could go on about all the unique items and traditions the Naval Academy has to offer, but it is better to hear it from a professional tour guide. If you have the chance to check it out, it is worth taking the time to go! You will need I.D. to enter the Academy grounds, and group tours cost around $12; discounts are available for seniors and military.