Celebrate the 50th anniversary of Star Trek at the Intrepid Museum— the first venue in the United States to host this immersive “Trek Tech” experience, spanning 12,000 square feet on Pier 86. Become a cadet at the Starfleet Academy, and embark on an interactive journey with Leap Motion, projection mapping, holograms and other Star Trek technologies. After student orientation, you’ll visit nine zones focusing on the Academy’s special training in language, medicine, engineering, navigation, command and science. Complete your training to learn your specialty. In addition to Star Trek: The Starfleet Academy Experience, the Museum will feature special Star Trek–themed programs and tours.
In July, I had the opportunity to visit New York City, with one of the reasons being to visit the Star Fleet Academy Experience. A few weeks prior, my cousin who lives there saw a bus advertisement for it. Both of us being big Star Trek fans promptly bought tickets online for $25 a piece, reserving our spot for 6:30 p.m. Buyers have an option to purchase timed tickets, giving the buyer one hour, roughly, to enjoy the exhibit, or VIP tickets for a higher price to enjoy the exhibit for as long as they want.
We traveled to the Intrepid by Subway and walking. It is a ten-minute or so walk from the nearest subway stop, and we had to cross a major street to reach the museum. Fortunately, we arrived at a time where we were some of the only people there, so we got the exhibit basically to ourselves.
In exchange for our tickets, we received white wristbands with the Star Fleet symbol on them that buckled on like a watch. Using touch screen consoles, we programmed them by entering our names and email addresses. You use the wristbands by sliding them in front of a designated circle beside the many activities and tests, because at the end of the exhibit you find out what division of Star Fleet you’d be most suited for.
My cousin and I walked inside. To our right, was a large model of the Enterprise with scenes from the shows played on the surface. To our left was a display of plot summaries for each of the Star Trek series. At the end of the corridor was a hologram Vulcan who explained how to interact with the exhibits. After passing through a hallway showing the Star Trek timeline, we entered the main exhibit.
Each part of the spacious area was sectioned by each division of Star Fleet: Communications, Medical, Science, Engineering, Navigation, Tactical, and Command. The sections included display cases with items used in each division, like tricorders, phasers, and even tribbles, as well as uniforms that crewmembers in that division wore. Every division had one or two interactive activities, such as using a tricorder to diagnose a Klingon dummy, using editing software to make a picture of yourself look like an alien, or shooting target practice with a phaser. Then, each section had a testing console where you were asked five questions and prompted to give an answer of what you’d do in a certain situation. However, some of these consoles weren’t working while were there. Fortunately, at least one was working in all but the communications section.
The most impressive activity had to be the mock transporter. You stand in front of a projector that displays a holographic image of yourself over both a recreated transporter deck and a digital version on the screen in front of you. The holograms looked really good. My cousin and I have both the digital version and ones my cousin and I took of each other.
Near the end of the exhibit is an actual recreated command deck where you can take the Kobayashi Maru test. It’s pretty impressive. My cousin and I spent the longest time there, sitting in the captain’s chair and role-playing.
After this last display, you can find out what division of Star Trek you belong to by scanning in your wrist band. Then the final console will tell you which division you’re in. I was in communications and my cousin was in command. You are presented with a PDF of your division certificate, a video of yourself in the transporter deck, and a picture of the alien you created in communications. All of this can be sent your email address to do with as you wish.
After this is a small gift shop with many themed items available for purchasing, including buttons, t-shirts, plushies, and the like. Then, you leave through the small exit.
Was the $25 worth it? Completely. It was amazing to interact with devices used throughout one of my favorite fandoms. I took so many pictures. My cousin and I fangirled over the experience throughout the rest of my vacation. I loved how interactive it was and that you got to have digital keepsakes at the end. The Star Fleet Academy Experience is a must-visit.
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