Two years ago, the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum closed and took an extended vacation. The museum, housed inside the USS Intrepid, is back home at Pier 86, with a completely new interior and entirely new exhibits.
The museum will concentrate on its core areas — sea, air and space — emphasizing hands-on learning and life aboard the USS Intrepid. There are new areas of the ship that have never been open to the public before, like the officers’ quarters, and the anchor chain room, where the anchors were dropped into the water. Some of the activities onboard include trying out the bunk beds that sailors slept in, and getting into a lifeboat on a waterbed, experiencing buoyancy and how boats move on the water.
There are over 20 interactive kiosks now, with all new simulators. A big hit will be the cockpit simulator that you can climb into, but more mundane aspects of everyday Intrepid life are also explored. There is a giant Kitchenaid mixer that was used to make the large-scale recipes need for the crew; the recipes are posted so you can compare amounts used in recipes at home.
In its first iteration, the Intrepid Museum had a rock-climbing wall, but Michael Onysko, a spokesperson for the museum, said the new cargo net climb is “more on mission with life aboard.” Sailors would train at sea by throwing the cargo net off side and climbing back on board. Onysko said the museum was careful to relate the exhibit to the relevancy of life aboard the Intrepid.
A new XD theater has 4-D technology, where visitors sit in individual pods and experience the wind, sound, sights and smells that crewmembers of the Intrepid encountered. There are also a couple of simulators that are more like amusement park rides, and cost extra; one, with a minimum age of 11 years, spins 360 degrees.
If you ever tried to get around the Intrepid with a stroller, you remember that it was a bit challenging. There is now a larger elevator that goes directly to the flight deck, but there are still areas that are not particularly stroller or handicapped accessible. Onysko said there are more ramps throughout the museum, but the renovation had to preserve the integrity of the ship. Most of the aircraft on board were restored to their original paint jobs and the exhibits in the Growler submarine were cleaned up, so the museum experience will be completely new.
A new way to enjoy the museum is also offered: for the first time, the Intrepid will be doing overnights. Operation Slumber will surely be one of the hot tickets this fall.
The Intrepid opens to the public on November 8.
Address: West 46th Street and 12th Avenue at Pier 86
Admission: $19.50, ages 6-17 $14.50, ages 2-5 $7.50, under 2 FREE
Open: Tuesday-Sunday 10am-5pm
For more info: www.intrepidmuseum.org