Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum

The past of couple posts have been located on the west coast, so I think it’s time for a switch up, and head back to the east coast, since I do live here. Recently, I went to…

Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, located in New York, New York

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The Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum is located on Pier 86, which is relatively close to 42nd St, therefore the museum is easily accessible by public transportation or car. There is a parking lot right across the street from the museum; not sure of the price and/or if it belongs to the museum though. The Intrepid is open from 10am to 5pm daily during the winter hours (from November to March, which was when I visited), however during the summer hours (from April to October, when this post is made), the museum is open 10am to 5pm Monday to Friday, and from 10am to 6pm on the weekends and holidays. Admission to the main museum is $24, and to the museum and the Space Shuttle Pavilion is $31. Groupon occasionally has offers for the Intrepid, and luckily, I found an offer and had an additional Groupon discount, thus I visited the Intrepid and the Space Shuttle Pavilion for $16.

The museum’s visitor center is currently undergoing renovation, so my museum buddy and I had to wait out in the cold in line for about 15 min before we got to the security and metal detectors. After which, we had to wait on another line for 15 min to trade our Groupon tickets for museum tickets. For an off season visit, a 30 min wait to get into the museum is rather long, I can’t imagine for what it will be like during the busy season.

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After the half hour wait in the cold, we finally got our tickets, and I thought we would be indoors and get some warmth, however, the museum is situated on an aircraft carrier, so there are both indoor and outdoor exhibits. We started at the top and outside, and worked our way down. The first area was the Flight Deck, where a variety of air crafts are on display. Most of the air crafts were manufactured for war time use. There are information placards to give more details about the planes, for those who are interested.

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In an indoor area on the flight deck is the special gallery, the Space Shuttle Pavilion, which displays the space shuttle, Enterprise. The exhibit contains a variety of artifacts that documents the science and history of the Enterprise and the space shuttle program. Visitors can view the actual Enterprise, that hovers above them, at the special viewing deck (which I failed to go up, thus I only have a picture of the back of the spacecraft). In addition to seeing the Enterprise, visitors also have a chance to see the Soyuz TMA-6 space capsule. A special exhibit that is ongoing till September 14, 2015 is the Hubble@25 exhibit, also located in the Space Shuttle Pavilion. The exhibit is for the commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope, and displays a variety of artifacts, images, and photographs relating to the Hubble Telescope.

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Also part of the flight deck is Intrepid’s Island, where visitors can learn how crew members navigated the oceans. I’m going to make the assumption that the captain stayed in this island as there’s a specific area called the captain’s bridge, and also by the fact there is a bed within this island.

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After seeing all we can on the Flight Deck, we made our way down to the Hanger Deck, which is indoors, and organized in a fashion similar to most indoor museums. The Hanger Deck is separated into three areas, Hanger 1, Hanger 2 and Hanger 3 (I think the aircraft was originally laid out in this way, so the museum kept the layout). Hanger 1 contains all the items that are typically seen in the admissions area of most museums, the admissions desk, and one or two displays to intrigue the visitors to see more. Hanger 2, which is directly connected to Hanger 1 with no separating boundaries, contains most of the artifacts on display. There is a Lego scaled replica of the Intrepid, found in Hanger 1,  that I think should not be missed; the attention to detail is just phenomenal, there’s even little Lego people on board the scaled model.

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Another temporary exhibit currently on display till June 8, 2015 is Objects in Conversation, found at Hanger 2. Objects in Conversation is an exhibit that explores the stories behind some of the objects found in the museum’s vast collection.

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Continuing on in Hanger 3 is the Exploreum, the interactive exhibit of the museum. In the Exploreum, visitors can touch as much as they would like, even sit in some air crafts and pose for a photo or two. In addition, there is an interactive submarine for those who have wonder what a sub might contain.

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Going down the stairs, we entered the Third Deck of the Intrepid. On the Third Deck, visitors learn about the life on board the Intrepid by getting an in depth view of the living quarters. It was interesting to see the lavatories and sleeping conditions. It wasn’t a surprise to see that those who ranked higher up had better living quarters than those who were lower ranked (somehow everything is about ranks and class).

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After finishing on the main air craft carrier, my buddy and I ventured to the other two other attractions of the museum, the British Airways Concorde, and the Submarine Growler. Unfortunately for us, the Concorde was closed when we visited, so I can’t comment on anything relating to it, except that it’s an airplane. The Submarine Growler, though, I can comment, and I highly recommend everyone to take a tour of it, as long as you’re not claustrophobic, as the space is small and narrow. There’s a bit of a wait to go inside the submarine, but it was worth it since you get to see the inner workings of a real submarine. In addition to being a non-claustrophobe, one must be physically able to walk and climb through oval doors to tour the submarine (see bottom row, middle pic).

My buddy and I spent about a total of 2.5 hours at the museum, which included the wait times to get inside the museum and to see the Growler. I feel that the amount of time spent was decent as we were able to see everything. However, I think the wait time to get through security and obtain tickets is ridiculous for a museum, a half hour wait is very long, especially during off season. If I had to pay the normal admission price and wait half an hour to enter, I probably would’ve turned around and left, but since I had discounted tickets, I won’t complain as much. Nevertheless, the regular admission price isn’t too farfetched, as some of the more touristy places in New York cost nearly the same price (but being the frugal person that I am, I wouldn’t have visited without the discount). I like that the museum used an aircraft carrier as the setting, and the submarine is exquisite, so I do recommend a visit, if you can find discounts somewhere (check Groupon or LivingSocial). Otherwise, really consider if you like the subject matter covered at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, as it’s both time and money that will be spent.

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