Patriots Point holds 40th anniversary celebration; breaks one-day attendance record

Patriots Point holds 40th anniversary celebration; breaks one-day attendance record
Source: Jackson Helms/Live 5 News
Source: Jackson Helms/Live 5 News

MOUNT PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) - Patriots Point in Mount Pleasant held a special celebration Saturday afternoon.

Forty years ago, the historical exhibit opened up.

To help celebrate that they sold tickets for throwback prices. On Saturday, tickets cost just $2, the same price they cost back in 1976.

There were also fun games and historical reenactors on hand during the celebration.

Officials with Patriots Point also announced that by 1:30 p.m. on Saturday they had broken their one-day attendance record.

And by 3 p.m., more than 4,500 people walked the decks of the Yorktown.

"It definitely had a wow factor," David Clark, senior museum curator, said on Friday. "Because of the size of the ship, a carrier this size had never been to Charleston before."

Clark was working at Patriots Point when in opened four decades ago.

The senior curator for Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum, Clark remembers when Patriots Point opened 40 years ago.

He was there when the public boarded the aircraft carrier for the first time.

"We had pretty good turnout," Clark said. "We had a little over 2,000 people on the first day."

The Patriots Point Development Authority transformed more than 100 acres of land at Patriots Point, then known as Hog Island, for the aircraft carrier and future ships.

"From its inception, Patriots Point was always going to be a multi-ship, multi-attraction with landside attractions as well," Clark said."'81 was a big year when we added the Clamagore, the Laffey, the nuclear ship submarine, the golf course opened."

According to Patriots Point officials, nearly 10 million day visitors have toured the museum, 1 million students have explored its warships, and 555,000 campers have spent the night aboard the USS Yorktown.

Clark said as Charleston grows, so does Patriot's Point though the museum's mission remains unchanged.

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