nyc attraction review

Review: Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum

flight deck

Every Week, Gray Line New York will be highlighting a “Partner of the Week” on our blog. We are going to provide a review for a new partner’s product and share our own insights and experiences. This week, our Partner of the Week is the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum.

If you like exploration, inspiration and excitement, the Intrepid is the museum for you. This Sea, Air, & Space Museum, all located on the aircraft carrier, The Intrepid, gives you the opportunity to learn and experience US history from the past century. Positioned right on the Harbor, I personally think the Intrepid is one of the most uniquely located museums in all of New York City because it has beautiful views of the water on one side and the city on the other.

Captain's Bridge

Captain’s Bridge

Separate from a traditional museum, the Intrepid offers indoor and outdoor experiences like no other museum I have been to. After going quickly through security, I immediately stepped onto the large pier where the ship is docked. It was a beautiful day so I did not rush to get onto the ship/museum and I walked to the end of the pier where a British Airways Concorde was located. It was cool to see because this was one of the only airplanes featured that I could actually touch and walk under.

From there I finally boarded the Intrepid through one of the four towers. This took me onto the Hangar Deck, which is all indoors and filled with countless artifacts and history. A portion of this deck is an exhibit known as the Exploreum. I felt that this is worth noting because of the hands on activities. You could sit in the cockpits of fighter jets, lay in the ships bunk beds and experience a 4-D motion ride, just to name a few. I could tell a lot of kids were especially enjoying this section but that doesn’t mean I didn’t.

wwii navy artifacts

WWII Navy Artifacts

After the Exploreum fun was over, I went outside to climb up to the Flight Deck. Here, the entire outside top deck was filled with airplanes and helicopters, each with their own bit of history. I looked at and read about Fighter Jets from the US Navy that were part of wars such as, Vietnam, the Gulf War, and World War II. At the center of this deck I was able to climb up to the Captain’s Bridge. I thought this was one of the coolest parts of the ship because even though it was small, it still seemed like one of the nicest parts. I walked through the control room and the Captain’s Sea Cabin. It felt like one of the most exclusive parts of the ship and I think that’s why it was so appealing and exciting.

After that, I had two more decks to explore- the Third Deck and the Gallery Deck. These decks were inside and completely opposite from the Hangar Deck because it was a lot more closed in, filled with narrow hallways and doorways to climb through. Here, I was able to get a feel of what it was like to be working on the ship. I saw numerous cubbies with bunks and bathrooms, the kitchen, lounge and cafeteria rooms. It was fascinating to see how everything fit, even though it was so crammed.

As I was making my way off of the ship, back onto the pier, I realized that I loved this museum because it was so unique in a way that each deck was completely different from the other. Whether it be outside or inside, or open spaced or closed spaced, this kept the museum constantly exciting and gave off a real feel of the actual boat. I enjoyed that I felt like I was on an exploration rather than formally walking through an organized museum. It is needless to say at this point, but if you enjoy exploring and are looking for an adventure, the Intrepid is the place to be.

Pro Tips:

  • Bring sunscreen for warmer days
  • Bring Jacket for colder days
  • Exploreum for kids and the whole family
  • Bring a camera for a lot of pictures
  • Some sections you can only get to via stairs, but mostly elevators are provided

To pre-purchase tickets for the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum, visit our website now: Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum Tickets

Review and photos by Megan Ryan

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Review: New York Historical Society Museum and Library

new york historical society

Every Monday, Gray Line New York will be highlighting a “Partner of the Week” on our blog. We are going to provide a review for a new partner’s product and share our own insights and experiences. This week, our Partner of the Week is the New York Historical Society Museum and Library.

Founded in 1804, the New-York Historical Society Museum is New York’s oldest collecting institution. But that certainly does not make it unappealing. It is located right along Central Park West with central park right across the street, making the outside just as pleasant as the inside. During my visit inside the museum on a hot Spring, Wednesday afternoon, I discovered over ten million artifacts, documents, and works of art. In addition, I explored the earliest moments of our nation’s founding as well as important events of today. This included remarkable sculptures, furniture, paintings, ceramics, and other artifacts from history.

After admiring the elegance and displays of the lobby, which included brief historical pieces of New York City, slavery, The Revolution, and World War II, I headed upstairs to the exhibits. I first came across a library and a reading room free of charge to any visitor to sit and look or read. The rest of the second floor included “The Complete Flock of Audubon’s Aviary.” This contained numerous rooms with their collection of Audubon watercolor paintings. These watercolor models of The Birds of America were so unique to see. I learned that the New-York Historical Society is the only place to view these national treasures in their entirety. And I certainly believed that you could not find an exhibit like this anywhere else.

new york historical society

After bird watching, I went up another flight of stairs to explore all the different kinds of artifacts from the 17th century all the way through to the 21st century. First I found The Holiday Express, where I found an abundance of toys and trains from the Jerni collection. This was my favorite part of the entire museum because the beauty and detail in all the miniature trains and train stations was like nothing I have ever seen before. However, this was the only exhibit that I could not take pictures in, so you will have to visit and prove me right on this one.

I continued through-out the floor where I stumbled upon several different artifacts. I looked at numerous tables and chairs used by the first US Congress. Seeing desks that our forefathers sat in was incredible. The painting exhibit included American Paintings from the colonial period through the twentieth century. The paintings captured so much American History including depictions of Washington Crossing the Delaware and self-portraits of several US presidents. Similar to this, the sculpture room displayed sculptures of historical figures like Roosevelt, Lincoln, and Jefferson.

new york historical society

NYC police equipment from the 1940’s and 50’s.

Needless to say, I had no idea that there was so much awaiting me at the NY Historical Society Museum. I could talk all day about the unlimited history in this museum. Now that I’m thinking about it, I did fail to mention the Children’s History Section on the lower level and the Military weapons from the Civil War and both world wars on the upper lever. Lucky for you, I am providing you with some insight of the museum before arriving. There might have been a few more things I forgot to mention, but I guess you’ll have to plan a visit and find out for yourself. There is no way you can pass this recommendation to indulge yourself with rich stories of New York and American history.

To pre-purchase tickets for the New York Historical Society Museum and Library, visit our website now:  New York Historical Society Museum and Library Tickets

Review and photos by Megan Ryan

Review: Harry Potter: The Exhibition

Every Monday, Gray Line New York will be highlighting a “Partner of the Week” on our blog. We are going to provide a review for a new partner’s product and share our own insights and experiences. This week, our Partner of the Week is Harry Potter: The Exhibition.

harry potter, times square, nyc

Harry Potter: The Exhibition

I have some good news for anyone who is still waiting around for their letter to Hogwarts! Harry Potter: The Exhibition is finally your official invitation. Here’s why…

On a Wednesday morning, I made my way over to 44th Street right in Times Square. It was a cold and windy morning (just about to blizzard), so I was even more relieved and excited to make it to the lobby of The Harry Potter Exhibition than I even originally had been. From reading the Harry Potter series and watching all the movies, I couldn’t believe that I was about to view and see this unique exhibit up-close and in-person.

I arrived at 10 a.m., just when the exhibit opened, and went right up the stairs to the box office. I received a ticket in the mail but needed to exchange that for an actual ticket to enter. However, I was surprised that there was somewhat of a line to receive my ticket, but I then realized that The Spy Exhibit is another exhibit you can walk through by purchasing a separate ticket here in the same line. While waiting I noticed a sign that said “no photography in the exhibits.” I was slightly disappointed because I was looking forward to taking pictures throughout my experience. However, this wasn’t enough to let this ruin my enthusiastic mood.

Once I received my ticket, I headed downstairs to start my experience. Immediately, I was able to take my picture in front of a green screen with a wand and a Hufflepuff scarf. I was then given a number to view my picture at the end of the tour. After having my picture taken, (and almost walking away with the scarf still around my neck), a group of us were escorted into another room which featured The Sorting Hat and a woman welcoming all of us to Hogwarts. If you’ve ever wondered what house you would be put in at Hogwarts, this place gives you the chance to find out.

After a few volunteers were put into their designated houses, the walking portion of the tour officially started. I loved that I was given the chance to walk at my own pace throughout the rest of the exhibit. It gave me the time to read and experience everything at my own leisure. I was incredibly overwhelmed by the countless displays of costumes and props. These displays also were not ordinary. They had set-ups that featured the props inside, such as, Hagrid’s Hut, The Forbidden Forest and The Great Hall, just to name a few. The entire exhibit was extremely well laid out.

It is needless to say that the exhibit had me in awe from start to finish. This is because I wasn’t expecting so much of an experience, but rather just displays. The exhibition featured mood-setting lights, fog, sounds and even hands-on experiences. Much more detail was included in the exhibit but I don’t want to give too many exciting surprises away. But since I want to brag, I did play Quidditch.

The exhibit did range from props to scenery to video and sound to costumes, but my favorite was seeing the three main characters, Harry, Ron and Hermione’s, clothing from the first movie all the way up until the last. Each of their Hogwarts uniform’s, along with casual clothes, were on display from a majority of the films. I loved seeing how small they once were compared to their present size, based on the costumes. Some costumes featured the original wear and tear from the movie. I noticed rips in some of the costumes along with fake dirt and blood. This made it that much cooler to see the real thing right in front of me.

The tour concluded with the expected gift shop which I walked through after my experience. The store not only had the usual key chains, postcards and t-shirts, but one-of a kind Harry Potter items. Various wands, scarves and hats from each house, necklaces and rings, quill and ink set and all types of candy featured in the books and movies. You can get into this gift shop without experiencing the museum. So if you’re in the city with only a few minutes to spare, I recommend at least stopping in the store to deck yourself out in one-of-a-kind Harry Potter gear.

Alas, I want to leave some surprises from the exhibit to you and for you to find out for yourself. Since this exhibit is temporary, I recommend attending this experience while you still can. Harry Potter nerd or not, this is the place to experience. It is not every day that you get the opportunity to experience an exhibit featured from one of the most popular movie and book series in the world.

To pre-purchase tickets for Harry Potter: The Exhibition and skip the line in the beginning, visit our website now: Harry Potter Tickets

Photo Credit: Flickr / ken8303

Review by Megan Ryan