Kids Week at the Intrepid or My Day With Chewbacca

Me and my new BFF!

Yesterday was Presidents’ Day, my new favorite holiday. And in keeping with American traditions of honoring people by not working, most schools are off this entire week.

So my wife and I celebrated by taking our two boys to the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum down in Manhattan. This former aircraft carrier is now a full-fledged museum. You can learn the history of this great ship, as well as take a tour of the command center and even walk through a real submarine that was used during the Cold War. (Talk about sardines!) On the hangar deck, there’s dozens of real jets, planes and helicopters to see. Oh, and this summer the Space Shuttle Enterprise is coming! It’s actually pretty darn cool for a museum.

The totally coolest part of it all though, is that we got into the museum for FREE! Our local library has a museum pass for the Intrepid that covers up to six guests! You just need to call and reserve the pass 24 hours in advance. Definitely check with your local library to see if they have any passes available, as that can easily save you a good $50 or more.

And this week, the place is super kid-friendly because it’s the Annual Kids Week Celebration! Every day this week is a different theme (Circus Weekend, Space & Aviation Day, Broadway Day, Puppet Day, Sports Day, etc.) and there are all sorts of free interactive exhibits, demonstrations and giveaways for the kids.

We most definitely picked the right day for our family, because as part of Space & Aviation Day, they had dozens of costumed Star Wars characters walking around. Nothing like walking into a museum, only to be greeted by a Clone Trooper! I couldn’t run… er, my kids couldn’t run fast enough from one character to the next.


I was so nervous meeting Lord Vader. I never know how to act in front of royalty.

Highlight of the day for me was getting my wife and kids to pose next to a 7-foot-tall Chewbacca. I gave him my best Wookiee growl in appreciation (I’ve really fine-tuned it over the year). My wife nearly won a Guiness World Record for Biggest Eyeroll ever, but she quickly changed her tune when the big lug growled back! We had a short growling conversation and then he frantically motioned for me to come in for a pic and gave me a big ol’ hug. Yeah, we’re totally BFFs now.

All the exhibits were great and I particularly loved walking through the Growler submarine, seeing how insanely packed it is. They don’t waste one square inch of space down there! Everything in a sub has multiple uses (chairs have storage underneath) and I couldn’t believe the quadruple bunk beds all over the place.


“Just call me Mr. Subb. Haw haw. Thank you, I’ll be here all week.”

 

The tour of the top of the Intrepid was pretty impressive, as well. Besides climbing up crazy steep and narrow ladders, you get to see where the captain controlled the ship, tons of maps, communication devices and a gorgeous view of New York City. Despite all that, my kids were most impressed with one of the volunteers’ water bottles he had sitting on a table.


Yeah, they’ll let any old 6-year-old drive this thing.

If you’re in NYC, I highly recommend hitting the Intrepid this week for Kids Week, which runs through Sunday February 26. All the Kids Week activities are free, but you do need to purchase general admission tickets. Tickets for kids 3-6 are $8 each, 7-17 are $17, and adults are $22 each. Don’t forget to check with your local library to see if they have any free museum passes, though!

If you’re looking for a fun way to spend a day this week, while giving your kids some actual hands-on education too, you should check out the Intrepid. You never know who you’ll run into! 

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