Traveling into the city from the south, we decided to take train. Whether this is the most economical way to travel is debatable, but it’s definitely the easiest since you don’t have to deal with traffic or parking. As an added bonus, NJ Transit is currently offering a buy one get one free ticket voucher to the Intrepid on their website. I printed out three vouchers, paid separately and saved close to $50.
Once we arrived at Penn Station, in NY, we took a cab to the Intrepid, which is located on the West Side of Manhattan, at 12th and 42nd streets. This was decided after a man on the train overheard us debating our modes of transportation, and informed me that it would be cheaper to take a cab from Penn Station ($13.50) than to pay $3 per person to take the subway, one of the suggested routes on the Intrepid’s website. It was good advice.
Our first stop, because my family seems to be eternally hungry, was Au Bon Pain, which is located inside the ship on the mess deck. Our lunch was decent, but choices were limited for my picky eaters, and the prices, a little over the top. Second Son’s lunch, oatmeal, chips, and a drink, and my salad cost $17. Ouch.
Since I had read online that the lines for the submarine could get long, later in the day, we decided after lunch, to go there, first. We waited about ten minutes. Not bad.I liked the tour, but found the beginning, when the tour guide told us about conditions aboard the submarine, the best. Did you know the men on the ship did not shower the whole time they were on tour? Sometimes, that meant ninety days! The rest of the tour was and independent walk through, that at times, felt a little rushed, because depending where you are in line, there may be people behind you, who might be more eager to move through than you.
Next, we headed to the flight deck and perused the various air crafts parked on top. Very cool. We also got to see the rear end of the Space Shuttle, which was pretty neat. The pavillion that houses the space shuttle was damaged during Hurricane Sandy, preventing us from seeing anymore of it, but we got a good view from the side when we were pulling up. It’s expected to reopen in the spring.
We toured the rest of the decks, the highlight, probably being the hangar deck, which is the heart of the museum. It houses interactive exhibits, including a flight simulator and 4D movie, two rides not included with general admission. My husband and the boys watched the 4D movie and enjoyed it. I think the flight simulator would have been cool, too, but I’m prone to motion sickness, so I opted out of both.
Can you imagine circling the earth in this little thing?There are two movies on the hangar deck, one explains the history of the ship and the other is called “Kamikaze: Day of Darkness, Day of Light,” a multi-media experience (notice the smoke). We enjoyed both.Our final tour was of the lower deck, which I liked, but wished was more extensive, and would have definitely been enhanced with an audio tour option. In fact, the whole experience would have been enhanced with an audio tour, which is usually available, but the headsets were damaged in the flooding that resulted from Hurricane Sandy and have not yet been replaced.
Nevertheless, it’s a great place to visit. My oldest son, who is nine, enjoyed it the most, but my other two had a good time, too. I found the Intrepid Air and Space Museum to be incredibly interesting and definitely plan on going back again, when the kids are older, so that I can take more time to examine the memorabilia, and tour the Concorde, which was on the pier.
At around four, we called it quits and headed off to dinner. If you are looking for places to dine around the Intrepid, you may have to do a little walking. We did A LOT of walking!
The original idea was to head to the Empire State building after leaving the Intrepid, but a quick Internet search revealed that it closed at two (what did we do before smart phones?). So, instead, walked towards Rockefeller Center in an effort to do just a little more sightseeing before eating dinner. However, after three hours of ship touring, that idea turned out be a little unrealistic.
Exhausted and complaining children in tow, we ditched the sightseeing and dined at Ted’s Montana Grill. I know there are a million places to dine in the city, but we stayed with this restaurant because we had dined there before and they were excellent at managing First Son’s food allergies, a must for our family. The food is good, too!
It was getting late and we knew we had at least an hour train ride and then short car ride before we were home, so we skipped dessert, high-tailed it to the train station, and barely made the express train home.
It was a day well spent.