By CAROL COMEGNO
The Battleship New Jersey Memorial and Museum will offer overnight family stays aboard the ship on three dates this summer.
Families can stay in the bunks where the sailors once slept, stand in the chow line for dinner Friday night and breakfast Saturday morning, and eat on the mess deck.
"It's a mini-getaway close to home that's fun, educational and totally different," said Jack Willard, the museum's marketing director.
The cost is $45 per person.
"It may just be the best summer getaway around," Willard said.
The museum already holds encampments for youth organizations such as school and Scout groups.
Nick Starace of Short Hills, in Essex County, plans to take his grandson to the Labor Day weekend sleepover.
"It's a chance for us to spend quality time together," said Starace, 68, a ship modeler who built a replica of the New Jersey now on display in its officer's lounge. "I can think of no better way than to be aboard such a naval vessel as this and sleep in the same cabins where sailors slept."
Campers will learn about the history of the most decorated battleship during a tour that will take them inside the gun turrets and combat engagement center.
The New Jersey, designated BB-62, was awarded 19 campaign stars. It took part in the World War II, the Vietnam War and the Korean War.
Reach Carol Comegno at (609) 267-9486 or firstname.lastname@example.org