Enjoy the depths of history that unfold throughout your journey of this very unique and special museum. The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum is the best interactive fun you can have with every member of your family while learning about history, science and service to our heroes. This gigantic aircraft carrier sits at Pier 86 in the Hudson River with an amazing line up of historical artifacts- supersonic aircraft Concorde, submarine Growler, space shuttle orbiter Enterprise, a full line up of aircraft on the flight deck, and the Intrepid intact with its arsenal. We have visited more than once and have found new things to check out each time.
The Intrepid was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1986. We have had the privilege of visiting three times and we’ve just about seen the whole museum (we think!). The museum hosts a variety of events to include the community in its rich history and diverse collection. Our favorite visit was an overnight aboard the aircraft carrier. They supply cots, but don’t forget your sleeping bag and flashlight. We stayed as a scout group, but they do offer overnights for families and adults (just adults!). They really know how to host a great event.
“Intrepid served in the U.S. Navy for over three decades and played a role in World War II, the Cold War, the Space Race and the Vietnam War. After this storied career, Intrepid was decommissioned in 1974 and later opened as a museum, where the history of the ship and its crew inspires visitors from all over the world.” – http://www.intrepidmuseum.org
Inside the Intrepid
The Hangar Deck is probably the most interesting area of the carrier for young kids. There are plenty of exhibits for connecting to history, but this deck also has the Exploreum. Here, in the Exploreum, you can climb into a Bell 47 helicopter, steer the wings of an airplane, navigate through an interactive submarine, and more. This area of the Intrepid is the most hands-on and it’s also where they host Kidsweek. “Kamikaze: Day of Darkness, Day of Light” is an immersive film right on the deck that brings history alive. The Medal of Honor Exhibit and the Story of the Intrepid Movie can be found here too for all of the history buffs. Be sure to check out every nook. You can find authentic stairs to climb to other decks, anti-aircraft guns you can climb aboard, an amazing Lego recreation of the entire ship, and the fo’c’sle.
The fo’c’sle is the forward-most part of the ship. This room has only recently been fully restored. It can be very cool to see the size of the massive anchor chains and very spooky, depending on your guide. We visited the fo’c’sle for the first time when we spent the night aboard the Intrepid for a Cub Scout sleepover. Our guide was quick to entertain the antsy scouts with some gruesome tales. Apparently, you had to pay attention working in this room so you weren’t towed to your death by the anchor pulling the chains swiftly through the floor to the sea. (Yikes! But guess who stopped jumping all over the chains during that tour?!)
There are many other areas to explore inside the ship. The Gallery Deck and the Third Deck show you the real workings of life on an aircraft carrier. You have to appreciate the dedication of our service men to have endured such close quarters and strict lifestyle.
The Intrepid has the most varied aircraft collection in the nation, representing all five branches of the US armed forces. The flight deck is an outside open space with great views of the Manhattan skyline, including the Statue of Liberty and the George Washington Bridge. The aircraft are lined up for you to enjoy and each one has a very unique place in history that you can learn about. We especially enjoyed the Crusader, the Blackbird and the MiG-21!
Space Shuttle Pavilion
Space Shuttle Pavilion, located on the flight deck, houses the Enterprise. This ship was a prototype NASA orbiter that paved the way for the space shuttle program. There are many displays of original artifacts, photographs, audio, and films that will immerse you in the science and history of the space shuttle era. You can walk directly underneath the orbiter Enterprise or visit an elevated platform for a terrific picture-taking view.
The Growler is separate from the Intrepid. Access is just outside at the same pier. We haven’t always been able to get inside this submarine due to time constrains, so plan well if you want to include it. There’s a lot more inside than you would expect and if you read the plaques or listen to a tour guide, you’ll learn some really interesting facts. Everything is narrow and low so be prepared for a tight fit. I can’t even imagine having lived in a submarine like this for six months! They conserve every inch of space to make sure they have enough supplies and equipment for their missions. We learned that the canned food was kept lining the floors for storage. Oh and don’t forget to check out the once “Top Secret” missile command center!
Kidsweek is the week of winter break, Feb 18-24. This is a great time to visit the Intrepid and have fun with the kids. It’s entertaining, hands-on, and educational. All of the activities are free with museum admission. This year’s focus is discovering how science interacts with art, sports, games and nature. There’s a full schedule of events with hands-on activities and even special guests that you can view online. Don’t forget to bring a convenient backpack for snacks and drinks and trinkets your kids pick up along the way.
We went a previous year and had loads of fun with Harry Potter’s Sorting Hat, learning how they train Annie’s dogs for Broadway performances, making paper airplanes, and much more.
Plan a visit:
- Located at Pier 86, W 46th St & 12th Ave, New York, NY 10036
- Open Daily 10am-5pm (April-October till 6pm)
- The line to the submarine Growler may close early.
- Final Entry and Last Ticket sold one hour prior to closing.
- All guests under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult for entry into the Museum.
- Pictures and Videos are allowed, but no camera extensions (selfie sticks, tripods, etc.)
- General Admission Includes Space Shuttle Pavilion, submarine Growler and all temporary exhibitions
- Adult (13 – 64)$33
Child (5 – 12)$24
Special NYC Resident RateAdult/Senior: $19 Child (5-12): $17
- Adult (13 – 64)$33
- FREE General Admission to Museum Members, Children 4 and under, and
U.S. military and veterans
- The Museum offers free admission for electronic benefits transfer (EBT) cardholders and up to three guests. Must have valid photo ID. Tickets can be redeemed at the box office.
- Additional Optional Costs
Simulators – Stories of Intrepid 4D Experience (40″), The G-Force Encounter (42″) and the Transporter FX (38″). $10 per ride / non-member
Audio Tours available in English, Spanish, French, German, Japanese, Italian, and Chinese. $10 per person / non-member
Guided Tours enhance your visit with a professional tour of the Museum. $15 – $20 per person / non-member
- Additional Optional Costs
Family Adventure Rating ♥♥♥♥
Parking & Transportation– There is plenty of parking garages if you prefer to drive in to the city, but I highly suggest you make advance reservations as a guarantee. There are many other large venues that host events in this area (Javitt’s Center for one). Parking can fill up fast if there’s another major event going on. Allow extra time for the parking garage alone. On the one visit we did choose to drive in, we waited on line at the parking garage for an hour (that was with a reservation, but on a busy day). Mass transportation is a good option since you will most likely be at this one location for the day. An Uber or taxi from the train is your most convenient option, but buses and subways are another option. If you’re not adverse to a good hike, you can walk from Penn Station, the nearest Subway Station, or the Port Authority Bus Terminal. The website says 15 minute walk, but I’m going to add that’s a “city pace”. Most out-of-towners don’t walk that briskly, so allow yourself a little extra time or take it as a challenge. (Manhattan Buses pass right in front of the Intrepid.)
Location– The Intrepid is a little off the beaten path for your usual tourist tour of the city, but it’s also a different ambience than the usual Times Square atmosphere. If you go on a nice day you will really enjoy being on the water and you can spend some time outside. You are in Hell’s Kitchen so you could venture out of the museum to connect with one of the most notorious early crime neighborhoods (between WWI & WWII). Have no fear, it’s been “gentrified” since then. If you want something more family friendly, Pier 84 is part of Hudson River Park and hosts a variety of fun- dog park, play area, sun bathing, kayaking. If you’re really into a full city experience, hike the Highline! You can pick it up at 34th St. and 12th Ave. and walk as far as you like (even to the end- Gansevoort & Washington St., close to Greenwich Village). There’s quite a bit to discover on the Highline itself.
Day Trip or Overnight– This is a day trip unless you’re planning one of their overnight sleepovers (loads of fun!).
Experience– Our family has enjoyed visiting the Intrepid every time we went. This is an adventure that we’ve been able to repeat. We’ve experienced the museum with a guide, overnight with a group, for Kidsweek, and simply to enjoy a large part of history. You can plan your trip to suit your own personal desires. Either way, this is a terrific experience that can’t be matched anywhere else!