The centerpiece of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum complex is the 900-foot Intrepid aircraft carrier, Manhattan's only floating museum. The carrier's most trying moment of service, the day it was attacked in World War II by kamikaze pilots, is recounted in a multimedia presentation. The museum faced its own trying period when forced to close for several months due to extensive flooding after 2012's Superstorm Sandy. Fortunately, the Intrepid's unparalleled collection of aircraft was not damaged in the storm. While repairs to electrical and safety systems are still ongoing, and plans to build a permanent home for the space shuttle Enterprise are pending, the museum is fully operational. The space shuttle Enterprise, NASA's first prototype orbiter, joined the Intrepid in July 2012 and is temporarily housed in a climate-controlled bubble tent on the flight deck of the Intrepid, but visitors can check out plans for its eventual permanent
home, on the interactive wall outside the Space Shuttle Pavilion. While Enterprise never flew in space, it is presented in a dramatic darkened display with blue lighting to evoke the atmosphere of flight. Images and displays share the shuttle's history and that of NASA's 30-year space shuttle program.
The interactive Exploreum contains 18 hands-on exhibits. You can experience a flight simulator, transmit messages in Morse code, and see what it was like to live aboard the massive carrier. An engrossing new exhibit focuses on the Intrepid's three tours of duty in Vietnam between 1966 and 1969. History is brought to life through artifacts that include the shared diary of junior pilots who were roommates onboard; a calendar counting down days until the crew members could return home; oral histories and personal effects of prisoners of war; anti-aircraft weaponry used by North Vietnamese forces; and aircraft that served during the war. Docked alongside the Intrepid, and also part of the museum, is the Growler, a strategic-missile submarine. Ticket booths and gift shops have been relocated to the museum's plaza while the visitor welcome center is being rebuilt. Before you visit, download the Intrepid's new, free Explore Enterprise app to unlock additional trivia, history, and behind-the-scenes video at trigger points in exhibits throughout the museum. There are also frequent ticket discounts if you purchase through the museum website.