One of the coolest and least expected museums in New York City is the one that floats on Pier 86: The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. If you’ve never set foot on this impressive vessel-based museum before, move it to your bucket list immediately. We’ve outlined exactly how you should spend your day aboard this immersive museum, and with air, space, and sea history to explore, you can bet you won’t run out of things to do!
Aircraft Carrier Intrepid
When visiting The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, the actual ship itself is a great place to start exploring. Check out the Flight Deck for a close-up of more than two dozen authentically restored aircrafts, or make a visit to the Gallery Deck to get an in-depth look at the combat information center and squadron ready room. The Hangar Deck is the Intrepid’s main indoor exhibit, taking visitors through “both the hardware and the humanity” of the ship. Last but certainly not least, the Third Deck allows for a thorough behind-the-scenes look of crew life below the main deck.
Space Shuttle Pavilion
Space nuts will go crazy over The Space Shuttle Pavilion aboard the Intrepid. This pavilion showcases the famed space shuttle Enterprise, the prototype NASA orbiter that led the way in the earliest atmospheric tests. From audio conversations between mission control and Enterprise to live tracking of the International Space Station, 17 dynamic exhibits can be found within this area of the museum. Learn everything you’ve ever wanted to know about Enterprise and its journey both up into the atmosphere and back to its final resting place in the Intrepid Museum.
Image: Ana Paula Hirama/Flickr
Ever wonder what it’s like to live on a submarine? The USS Growler is the only American guided missile submarine open to the public, and sure enough, you can find it at The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. Make your way through the Crew’s Mess, where enlisted men ate their meals; the Control Room & Attack Center, where they steered the submarine and scanned the water’s surface; and the Aft Torpedo Room, where two torpedoes were housed along with nine bunks for the crew. The next New York hotel room you look at it will seem roomy in comparison!
British Airways Concorde
In 2003 British Airways retired Concorde air travel, but the record-breaking Concorde Alpha Delta G-BOAD (the fastest Atlantic-crossing Concorde) can be explored on Pier 86 during your trip to Intrepid. Check out the pilot’s cockpit, interior seating, and aerodynamic exterior of this plane that made history in the late 1970s.
Star Trek: The Starfleet Academy Experience
While Star Trek: The Starlet Academy Experience may not be a permanent exhibit at The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, it’s definitely one worth checking out through October 2016. Over 12,000 square feet of space is dedicated to creating an interactive Star Trek journey for visitors. You can explore up to nine different zones after taking part in a student orientation that will familiarize you with the language, medicine, engineering, and science behind the the Starship Enterprise.
On the Line: Intrepid and the Vietnam War
Photo courtesy Intrepid Museum
The Intrepid was modifed to carry attack aircraft during the Vienam War as part of Operation Rolling Thunder. In fact, the carrier served three tours of duty in Vietnam between 1966 and 1969. Learn more about its experiences in the Gulf of Tonkin, launching aircraft for missions over mainland Vietnam at the exhibit On the Line, featuring many artifacts displayed for the very first time
The Intrepid is docked on the west side of Manhattan at Pier 86 (W. 46th St. & 12th Ave.), 212-245-0072, intrepidmuseum.org.