Every little boy dreams of one day going to the moon. There is just something about space that captivates the male mind. Boys want to fly, be it in a rocket, airplane or cape; as long as their feet leave the ground they are happy. Jake was no different. He ran around the house dressed like Superman jumping off of the back of my couch his entire 4th year of life. As he got older, his dreams became a little more realistic. He still wants to be a hero, only now he knows that becoming a sailor in the United States Navy is a better way to go. That’s why for our last vacation before he leaves for Boot Camp I took Jake to New York City to Visit the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum.
What better way to start off a naval career than to climb aboard an actual Naval Carrier? We began our day with a short film about the ship in a very large theater that used to be the second level of the flight deck. The Intrepid has a long and honorable history with the United States Navy. Commissioned in 1943, the Intrepid military history spans through WWII, Guantanamo Bay, and multiple NATO actions until 1974 when she was decommissioned for the final time. Intrepid was also known for bringing home our brave Astronauts when they came back to earth after being in space.You have no idea how massive these ships are until you are on one. Truly a City at Sea, the Intrepid housed 2,600 Officers and enlisted men during her heyday. We were standing smack dab in the middle of history, and Jake was thrilled.
You’re able to take a tour of the ship with volunteers who know all that there is to know about Intrepid. We got to see the Barracks, the Mess Hall and even the Officers Quarters. What was most intriguing was the flight deck with all the different air craft used during the last 5 decades. I was clueless, but Jake was able to point out the kinds of helicopters that pulled his grandfather out of the rice patties in Vietnam. That was cool, in a shock and awe kind of way. We were able to climb up on the massive guns on deck and you could even see bullet holes from fights with Kamikaze planes during the war. The inside of Intrepid has been transformed into an interactive museum where you can spend hours getting to know how life on Intrepid was back in the good ole days.
Next to Intrepid is the Growler Submarine, the only Strategic Missile Submarine open to the public in the United States today. This once top secret sub is now a museum showing how life is on an American Submarine. The Growler spent most of its service stationed off the cost of Russia during the Cold War. The nuclear war head sitting on top was 3 times stronger than the bomb that we dropped on Hiroshima. Scarry! You have to be able to climb through port doors to get through this tight fitting ship, but it will amaze you how our sailors stayed in such close quarters guarding and protecting us for all those years.
If you’re in New York City and are looking for a fun afternoon with the kids, I recommend you give the Intrepid Museum a visit. Keep in mind that during the summer there are a lot of group tours going on and there will be kids everywhere. Also be prepared to stand in line to get into the Growler Submarine, it’s a tight squeeze and they only let small groups go through at a time. The tent is not air conditioned during that wait and it does get hot inside that tent. The Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum is opening the doors to a new exhibit, the Space Shuttle Pavilion where you will be able to get a firsthand look at the space shuttle Enterprise. For more information about the Intrepid visit www.intrepidmuseum.org