After a day of touring the Texas Wine Trail in the hill country, we found ourselves in Fredericksburg, where we were amazed and excited to find the National Museum of the Pacific War. To our surprise, the museum is a six-acre Texas Historical Commission property, and is operated by the Nimitz Foundation, located in middle of Fredericksburg. It includes a three-acre Pacific Combat Zone as part of the complex. Exhibits include live audio and video, which really brings home the gravity of the Pacific Operations. They left no stone unturned! With purchase of admission, visitors can spend two days exploring all exhibits, including the George H.W. Bush Gallery, the Admiral Nimitz Museum and the Pacific Combat Zone.
Why is the National Museum of the Pacific War located in Fredericksburg, Texas? We soon learned that the Nimitz House, once a hotel, is the starting place for the visit. Admiral Chester Nimitz, commander of the entire Pacific fleet during WWII, spent his formative years at the family-owned hotel. The Nimitz House was completely renovated in 2007, and showcases the
early years of the old hotel, Fredericksburg and the Nimitz family, as well as the life and career of Admiral Nimitz. It’s true that the museum building was a hotel from the 1850s to the1960s, and was built by Admiral Nimitz’s grandfather to resemble a steamboat. The steamboat-style structure is a landmark on Main Street, across from the Auslander Restaurant & Biergarten. Admiral Nimitz’s wish was to honor all who served under his command.
Strolling through the Memorial Courtyard we found more than 1,800 plaques dedicated to those who served in the Pacific during WWII. Looking down, we saw the names of servicemen and women who served this country during times of war and peace.
We reflected on the Plaza of the Presidents, which is dedicated to the nation’s leader’s who served during WWII. The Japanese Garden of Peace is a gift from the people of Japan, to honor all that Fleet Commander Nimitz did to improve relations after the war.
We stayed at the Hampton Inn located one block from the museum, and found authentic Bavarian dining at the Auslander Restaurant & Biergarten and Der Lindenbaum Restaurant. The National Museum of the Pacific War could be the best-kept secret of the Texas Hill Country! The hours of operation are 9-5 daily, and closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.