For the first time in my life, I have boldly gone where many other geeks have gone before, and my nerd cred is way up after this weekend. The Starship Enterprise – in every version of the NCC-1701, from A to E – has landed in Long Beach, California for a month.
Based on the Las Vegas attraction The Star Trek Experience, the show features sets, props, and costumes from over 40 years of Star Trek history, spanning five television shows and ten movies. Visitors can ride in a shuttlecraft simulator and have their pictures taken on the bridge of the Enterprise, and of course they can buy themed merchandise (even Tribbles).
You can purchase an audio tour of the exhibits, but we skipped that. I have a reasonable working knowledge of Trek lore, but I was attending with Tall Paul and our friends Larry and Julie, and they all really know their stuff. Without the audio tour to structure our visit, we wandered back and forth among the exhibits freely and provided our own running commentary.
Long Beach is the first stop on the 40-city tour, and we went to the first show on the Sunday morning of opening weekend, so they still seem to be working out a few kinks, but nothing major. Perhaps because we arrived at 10 AM, the people-watching wasn’t quite as diverting as we might have expected; some visitors wore Federation uniforms of one vintage or another, but there was a real shortage of interesting alien species – no Vulcans, no Klingons… Oh well, less to distract us from the show itself, I guess.
We stepped through the Guardian of Forever and into the 23rd century.
A view from the bridge of Captain Kirk’s Enterprise:
We traveled forward in time about 80 years to “The Next Generation,” and saw the “ready room” of my favorite starship captain, Jean-Luc Picard.
The captain would wear this outfit for a formal Starfleet event. He’d wear the uniform below for ordinary everyday work on the Enterprise.
The transporter wasn’t working, but you could stand in it anyway.
(For the record, no one ever really said “Beam me up, Scotty.”)
A view of the bridge of Captain Picard’s Enterprise:
Hmm, what does this button do? Our friend Larry in Captain Picard’s chair.
Geeks at work – A closeup of the engineering console would make a great desktop for a Mac:
One highlight of the tour is the opportunity to have your picture taken on the bridge sets. Here we are channelling Captain Picard (although I think Tall Paul has been working the Commander Riker look lately) and (unfortunately for me, since she’s one of my least favorite characters) Counselor Troi:
And the opportunity to sit in Captain Kirk’s chair was the fulfillment of a lifelong dream for my husband. (I think Lt. Uhura didn’t quite look like this, though…)
I’m not at all sorry to have had this experience…and I’ve told Tall Paul I’ll even think about going to Comic-Con in San Diego this summer. Let the geek flags fly!