ST. PETERSBURG – The 418-foot USS Independence anchors in the Port of St. Petersburg this Labor Day weekend, welcoming the public for tours Saturday through Monday.
Expect a lot of pomp and circumstance for the first naval warship ever to visit St. Pete, thanks to the efforts of Florida Congressman Bill "C.W." Young.
But you cannot just show up and go on board. The free tours are for a limited number of people who got their tickets in advance.
How to Get Your Free Tickets
1.) Tickets will be made available on a first-come, first-served basis Thursday and Friday.
2.) Pick them up at the Mahaffey Theater Box Office, 400 First St. S., Thursday and Friday, from noon-6 p.m.
3.) Tickets are limited to four per person, and are available while supplies last.
4.) Park for free at the Mahaffey Garage to pick up your tickets.
5.) Organizations of 25 or more should request tickets for organization tours via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 727-893-7465. If using email, please note USS Independence in subject line.
6.) Due to safety considerations, children must be eight or older to go on the tour.
7.) The ship is not able to facilitate those who cannot walk unencumbered and under their own power.
8.) Ticketholders are advised to arrive one hour prior to their scheduled tour time to check in, shuttle to the Port and pass through a Naval security screening.
9.) The free tours are from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday for organizations only. Individual ticket holders will tour the ship from Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and Monday from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Monday.
10.) Tours will be timed so no more than 150 people are on board the ship per hour.