Would you believe enjoying something called Starfleet Academy Experience requires no knowledge of "Star Trek" or being a kid?
Probably not, but that's what the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum has accomplished with its new interactive exhibit, opening July 9. Located inside of a 12,000-square-foot tent on Pier 86, the premise is that you’re a cadet enlisting in the “Star Trek” version of officer candidate school.
Would-be crewmembers make their way through seven areas - Communication, Science, Engineering, Medical, Navigation, Tactical and Command - where they’re tested through various methods.
• Navigators must get a digital spaceship safely across a map while dodging obstacles like gravity fields and enemy ships
• Engineers operate a hologram-powered Transporter
• The Tactical team puts their Nintendo Wii skills to use in a phaser shooting arcade
• While 90 percent of the qualification for the Medical team ought to be the quality of your punchline to, “Damn it, Jim, I’m a doctor not a...!”, the exercise is actually diagnosing an illness using a medical tricorder
This is genuinely good all-ages fun, whether or not you know the Vulcan salute. But don’t get too distracted by the displays about how “Trek” influenced the real world (i.e. the space shuttle Enterprise on the Intrepid’s deck is named for the original series’ flagship), or the dozens of props and costumes from the 13 films and six TV series that comprise the “Star Trek” universe scattered throughout the exhibit. The real treasure is what at first glance appears the least interesting.