Pampanito was decommissioned on December 15, 1945 and placed in "mothballs" at Mare Island where she remained until she was brought out to serve as a training platform for Naval Reserve Submarine Division 11-12 at Mare Island during the 1960s. Pampanito remained part of the reserves until 1970 when, unfortunately, she was opened up to the fleet stripping program. Some of her equipment was removed to provide spare parts for other submarines.

In 1971, Pampanito was stricken from Navy records, and in 1976 Pampanito was turned over to the Maritime Park Association (formerly National Maritime Museum Association) to be opened to the public as a memorial and museum ship. However, the attempt to berth the submarine at Fisherman's Wharf was blocked by the San Francisco Port Commission led by Harry Bridges. As a result, Pampanito was moved from Mare Island to a private shipyard in Stockton where she remained for almost six years in storage as the debate continued. Eventually the feeling of the Commission changed and a berth at the Wharf was secured.

Opened to the public in 1982, she has become one of the most popular historic vessels in the country hosting as many as 250,000 visitors a year.

Since her opening the Maritime Park Association has worked to interpret the vessel to her visitors and to preserve and restore her to her wartime condition and appearance. Most of the equipment taken during the fleet stripping period has been replaced as have the missing deck guns, bunks and other equipment. Pampanitohas been drydocked four times by the Association and she is on a regular haul out schedule of between five and seven years. Many of Pampanito's systems have been brought back to life and made operational as part of her extensive preservation program. The effort continues seven days a week.

In the Spring of 1996 Pampanito left her berth to star in the feature film Down Periscope starring Kelsey Grammer, Lauren Holley, Rob Schneider, Rip Torn and Bruce Dern. Pampanito played the fictitious submarine USS Stingray SS-161. (The real USS Stingray was hull number SS-186 and SS 161 was the S-50.)

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Version 2.01, 7 May 2007