Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
Pier 86 (12th Avenue and West 46th Street)
West 42nd Street-Port Authority Bus Terminal (A, C, or E train)
The USS Intrepid is an unusual museum experience the whole family will enjoy. The decommissioned aircraft carrier sits beside the Concorde SST, the submarine USS Growler, and the destroyer Edson on New York's Hudson River. Together, the air and sea craft provide an education in American flight and warfare technology from World War II to the present.
The USS Intrepid was used by the U.S. Navy from 1942 until the early 1970s and saw action in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. At its peak, the great ship housed more than 3,000 sailors and carried more than 100 airplanes and helicopters on its massive deck. The ship, weighing in at nearly 42,000 tons when loaded, is virtually a full military installation at sea, and fighter planes are still perched on the deck for viewing.
Most of the planes featured on the Intrepid were never actually carried by the ship, such as the A-12 Blackbird, one of the fastest, highest-flying planes ever built. The CIA had this titanium aircraft designed to photograph activities on the other side of the Berlin Wall during the Cold War. A reproduction of a World War I biplane, complete with propeller, can be found on the lower deck.
The entire USS Intrepid complex closed for renovation and repairs in 2006 and is scheduled to reopen on November 11, 2008. The museum areas will be enhanced and expanded, and many of the military aircraft will be restored. In addition, Pier 86 will be rebuilt. If you visit after the reopening, this listing should give you some idea of what to expect.
The unique seaside museum explores the undersea world, both on the Growler and through special exhibitions about submarines and underwater study. Within the museum you'll also find Pioneer's Hall, which looks back at the airplanes of the twentieth century, and the Technologies Hall, which highlights modern technology, including weaponry.
Onboard the ships of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, you'll climb narrow staircases and squeeze through tight corridors. A tribute to the space program features a space capsule retrieved from the sea in the days before the space shuttle made a smooth landing on solid ground. You can also visit a Concorde jet that once flew from London to Paris at supersonic speed.
There is a gift shop on the premises where you can buy the very popular Intrepid baseball cap. There is a mess hall inside, and the food is considerably better than that once offered to sailors, with a good selection of sandwiches and hot items.
RAINY DAY FUN
The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum is actually a good place to go during a rainy or cold day. There's a lot to do below deck, such as pilot a G-force flight simulator or explore the cockpit of a navy A-6 jet fighter. You can also watch a twenty-minute film on the museum and listen to real war stories from the volunteer crew members. There's also a station to send e-mail messages to current troops.
Hours and Fees
Before it closed, the USS Intrepid was open 10 A.M. to 5 P.M. weekdays, 6 P.M. on weekends, from April through September, but closed on Mondays October through March. Admission was $14 for adults; $10.50 for students over twelve, seniors, and veterans; and $9.50 for children five through eleven. Self-guided tours of the USS Intrepid, USS Edson, and USS Growler were free with admission. At the time of this writing, no decision was made as to any changes.