The Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum was a wonderful inclusion in our New York itinerary. Imagine a museum being housed on and in a former aircraft carrier. The USS Intrepid fought in World War ll and survived five kamikaze attacks and one torpedo strike. The ship also served in the Cold War and Vietnam War. Today it leads a quieter life berthed at a pier on the Hudson River. We had the pleasure of visiting the fantastically accessible museum last year.
We have visited other maritime exhibitions and museums but most of the ships on display are not wheelchair accessible. The USS Intrepid has lifts between the decks, is roomy inside and has accessible restroom facilities. Our visit provided BJ with his first look below deck on a military ship and it was thrilling to give him this access.
The Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum houses one of the most varied aircraft collections on the East Coast of the U.S. I have to say AJ and I were a little ho hum about it – just not our thing. Hubby and BJ were full of enthusiasm over the different aircraft, which represent all five of the U.S. armed forces.
The lift took us below deck and we were impressed by the displays, how easy it was for BJ to view everything and the space to get around.
AJ loved all the hands-on activities which were aimed at kids but equally popular with adults. People were encouraged to put on gloves and attempt tasks that an astronaut may perform in space. Astronauts wear specially designed suits to protect them from the extreme temperatures and pressure in space. The fingers of space gloves are hard to bend so we challenged AJ to the task. BJ was amused watching AJ giving some of the jobs of an astronaut a go. She remained focused despite the heckling from the crowd, otherwise known as her loving family.
Having a space mad teacher (Hello, Mr Squires!), AJ couldn’t wait to get to the Space Shuttle Pavillion. This is an additional cost but well worth it. There are educational displays with the history of NASA’s Space Shuttle fleet, lots of information about the Shuttle on display, the Enterprise and how often does one get the opportunity to see a Space Shuttle? That was reason enough for me.
Walking into the pavilion we thought BJ would need to be content to see the shuttle from the ground. It was an impressive view of the wheels and under carriage but it wasn’t giving him the best view of the space craft. We were thrilled when a staff member approached us and took Hubby and BJ up a ramp to a lift to get to the viewing deck. A great photo opportunity and it gave us a chance to truly appreciate the size of the shuttle.
The Concorde sits on the pier next to the Intrepid. It isn’t accessible but it is impressive to walk around and under the aircraft. The Concorde on display holds a world speed record for a passenger airline. It crossed the Atlantic Ocean from New York to London in a time of 2 hours 52 minutes and 59 seconds. That is BJ’s style of air travel, such a shame they don’t fly anymore. Not that I can see us affording it!
Visit early in the day when crowds are smaller. There are queues for the lifts within the Intrepid and I can’t imagine how long the wait must be as the day goes on.
We bought food from the cafe on the ship but sat on the pier to eat. So much nicer to be in the fresh air with the Concorde watching over us.
There is a family restroom/accessible restroom on the main deck.
We made our way to the pier by catching a subway to 42nd Street and then a bus to the pier.
Allow several hours for your visit if you can, the displays are extensive and there is a lot of reading.
For more information and to plan your trip head to the website of The Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum.
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Shelby Goodman says
If anyone REALLY wants to see military aircraft and is worried about accessibility ,I have the best you will find. The US AIR FORCE MUSEUM in Dayton Ohio. As one reviewer said “the best museum … And it is free. ”
I add Totally accessibile on my Amigo scooter . See the beautiful web site and you will get a feel of what you will see.
It houses every plane the US Air Force ever flew with histories of the exact plane. Buitifully restored and displayed.
In addition they have all the retired Air Force One’s. Also,extensive expiramental planes including the giant Valkarie. Amazing and worth the trip alone . But wait and make sure the new hangar for those planes is open. Sometime in spring or summer 2016.
Make plenty of time to see and read about each plane. A whole day or more if you really love planes.
Oh I forgot to mention, they also have a Russian Mig , German fighters, And Japanese fighters and. Kamakazi. Plus some original and some copies of planes back to the Wright Brothers. It is in Dayton their home.
Is that enough? You can also see wonderful IMAX movies at additional cost.
Enjoy as I have about 4 times.
Shelby Goodman says
Can I add pictures to the comment?
Wow Shelby, thanks so much for the information. We will be sure to check it out if we get to Dayton Ohio and I’m sure many of our US friends will be keen to check this out. Thanks so much for sharing. Happy for you to share images if you can. Julie