Check out our updated post about the Intrepid, published in 2013. The Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum reopened in 2008 after a five-year renovation. As a lifelong New Yorker, I hate to admit that I had never been to the Intrepid before. Roaming around a big ship and looking at airplanes had never appealed to me. But since they took the trouble to redo it, and I now have a five-year-old son, I figured it was worth going to check it out and I'm glad we did.
The people at the Intrepid Museum obviously took families into consideration in their planning because they've created a whole new kid-friendly section called the Exploreum. In the Exploreum, kids play their way through exhibits that teach them about the inner workings of the ship and life on the vessel, plus the Intrepid's role in the Space program.
Highlights of the Exploreum include:
The flight simulator where kids can climb in a real cockpit of a fighter plane and use a computer simulation program to see if they can land the plane on the deck of the Intrepid.
Sit inside a life-size model of the Gemini-3 space capsule and imagine what it was like to travel into space in that tiny little capsule.
Sink (or save) the Intrepid in a computer simulation that teaches kids about ballast and let's them try it out.
The bunks look plenty big if you're only three feet tall.
Kids can practice and pretend they're the captain here and then see the real captain's deck upstairs.
At the back of the Exploreum, there is a full-flight simulator ride that you must pay extra for, but it gives you one of those woozy, stomach-turning fighter plane rides. There's also a 3D theater that costs extra.
Outside of the Exploreum, there's plenty more for kids to enjoy at the Intrepid Museum. Head to the flight deck to see dozens of aircraft. Then climb further up to see the captain's deck and quarters. Kids can play with all the controls and sit in the captains chair to get the full experience.
There was lots to do and we didn't even have time to visit every part of the museum. I'm looking forward to going back to check out the Growler Submarine and the Space Shuttle Pavilion, where you can check out the Enterprise, a real-life decommissioned space shuttle.
In the meantime the only thing that I didn't like about the visit is that when you are about ten feet from the outdoor exit, they direct you to exit through the gift shop. Walk quickly and hope for the best.
Where do you eat after your Intrepid visit? Walk directly away from the water on 46th street and at the corner of 46th and 11th Avenue you'll find Daisy May's BBQ. I love their pulled pork sandwiches. Otherwise head south a couple of blocks on 11th Ave and you'll find the Market Diner.
Experience a little of the museum on the Intrepid website in its online Kid Zone where children can explore a virtual ship, and learn about life aboard the ship and its history.
The Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum is at 46th Street and the Hudson River. Take any subway to 42nd Street and then the M42 crosstown bus. Find out more, see hours and ticket prices on the website.
Find more must-see sights in our Museum Guide.