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The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum

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by Dora Bona (subscribe)
A freelance writer, and amateur photographer Dora also teaches creative writing classes. Check out her website at
Published May 23rd 2011
If a New York skyscraper makes you feel tiny, then try looking up at the aircraft carrier USS Intrepid from the pier below.

The monolithic USS Intrepid

Commissioned for action during World War 2, the aircraft carrier also served during the Vietnam and Cold wars, and was later used by NASA as a recovery vessel. The Intrepid is now a museum and has many interactive exhibits aboard like flight simulators and naval navigation demonstrations.

The hangar and flight decks feature vintage and modern aircraft. From actual fighter planes and helicopters that landed on the carrier during wartime, to the world's fastest commercial plane, the retired Concorde jet, it's a step back in time and incredibly breathtaking - even for someone like me who isn't into war memorabilia. Visitors can also ride in the A-6 Cockpit Simulator, and visit the Virtual Flight Zone.

As you wander up and down the deck, your spine tingles at the sight of all those majestic planes lined up against the backdrop of the magnificent Manhattan skyline.

The Intrepid was home to 3,000 enlisted sailors, officers, and Marines, who all were required to live in very tight and close quarters. You can inspect real chart tables, radar consoles and the myriad communications equipment they had to operate.

You can "take the helm" on the Navigation Bridge and learn how Intrepid's crew would navigate the oceans in any weather, day or night.

The most exciting news is that the Intrepid will soon be home to the Space Shuttle Enterprise. More than 150,000 people signed the petition to help bring the space shuttle to New York City, it's expected that more than a million people a year will come to Intrepid to see the vehicle that advanced the U.S. exploration of space.

Part of the museum also features a Cold War-era submarine - the only one left in existence that has fired nuclear missiles.The former USS Growler is the only American diesel-powered strategic missile submarine open to the public. The Growler takes museum visitors on a fascinating but somewhat claustrophobic close-up inspection and a firsthand look at life aboard a submarine, and once "top-secret" missile command center. Access is available to the various compartments as they were used during operations.

The USS Growler

The torpedo room

Living in close quarters

It is worth noting until September 2011, there is a special exhibition called Inspiration and Industry: American Women on the Home Front.

Intrepid's new temporary exhibit

The Intrepid is also home to special events and functions - what a spectacular venue for your wedding or next big function.

Admission prices vary depending on which exhibits you would like to attend, however general admission pricing is as follows:
Includes access to Intrepid, Growler Submarine, and the film, Story of Intrepid.
Adult $24.00
Seniors (62 w/valid ID) $20.00
US College Students (w/valid ID) $20.00
Youth (7-17) $19.00
Veterans $17.00
Child (3-6) $12.00
U.S. Active Military, Retired US Military, Children Under 3 FREE

Opening Hours:
Spring/Summer Hours (April 1st - October 31st)
Monday - Friday 10AM - 5PM
Saturday, Sunday & Holidays 10AM - 6PM
Intrepid will be closed on Thursday, June 23, 2011 for a special event.

Fall/Winter Hours (November 1st - March 31st)
Tuesday - Sunday (including Holidays) 10AM - 5PM
Mondays Closed
Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 25) Closed
Christmas Day (Dec. 25) Closed

Visit the Intrepid for a terrific day out, even if you aren't into planes, ships or submarines. It's a great way to learn a little about U.S. history.
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Why? It's a great way to learn a little about U.S. history
When: As per listed above
Where: The USS Intrepid, Pier 86 at 12th avenue
Cost: General admission around $20
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