[17 February 2009]
Detroit Free Press (MCT)
Wanna-be Klingons and Captain Kirks and Mr. Spocks can raise their hands in a Vulcan salute. “Star Trek: The Exhibition” opened Saturday at the Detroit Science Center.
Wandering through the Science Center will be as close as they can come to getting beamed onto the Starship Enterprise, into Captain Picard’s private quarters and into a transporter.
Detroit is the first Midwest stop for the 9,000-square-foot exhibition, which premiered last year in San Diego. It’ll stay here through Sept. 7, meaning it will capitalize on any increased Trekkie interest sparked by the release of the new J.J. Abrams-directed “Star Trek” film in May.
The exhibition should excite both casual and hard-core Trekkies with its elaborate set re-creations and authentic series props. So (boldly) go into this celebration of one of science fiction’s most celebrated creations and be immersed in the final frontier.
Eight things not to miss at the exhibit:
1. Flight simulator
This is not for claustrophobics. “Star Trek: The Exhibition” wants to give you an adrenaline rush before you even take the elevator ride to its entrance. The flight simulator straps in two riders at a time with harnesses and takes them on an upside-down journey through the “Star Trek” version of space. The final mission is to protect Earth from a Borg Cube set on destruction. Riders will get a thrill as the screen darkens and up flashes that classic “Star Trek” line: “Resistance Is Futile.”
If the ride isn’t enough to get your endorphins humming, you can try a round of piloting a fighter jet. Use a joystick, throttle and foot pedals inside the simulator to send the aircraft into dizzying turns and somersaults.
2. On the bridge
After passing by a marker with the famous “Star Trek” introduction (“Space: The Final Frontier”) written in English, Klingon and Romulan and viewing jumpsuits worn by Lt. Uhura, Capt. James T. Kirk and Mr. Spock, you’ll step onto the re-creation of the circular bridge from the USS Enterprise NCC-1701 in “The Original Series.”
It doesn’t take much effort to envision Capt. Kirk piloting from the captain’s chair or Mr. Spock at his station fiddling with the lighted controls.
3. Captain Picard’s Ready Room
Peering into Capt. Jean-Luc Picard’s Ready Room from “Star Trek: The Next Generation” will make you feel as if you’re wearing your own “Star Trek” jumpsuit.
Piccard’s quarters hold a dining table, circa the 24th century, a living room area, a work station and a chaise lounge.
Allyson Lazar, a contractor with Premier Exhibitions, which organized the exhibition, calls Picard’s quarters “very personal.” She says the exhibit will include his phaser, a painting given to him by Data and his Ressikan flute.
4. The transporter
Find out what it really looks like to get beamed up.
As you step into the famous “Star Trek” transporter, watch as the screen on your right dissolves your image.
Be sure to congratulate Scotty afterward.
5. Guardian of Forever
The topography changes to a rocky brown as you approach the Guardian of Forever.
As you step into the time portal, the Guardian speaks, its omnipresent voice declaring, “Behold! I am the Guardian of Forever.”
6. The saucer corridor
It’s easy to forget when you’re actually in one massive room at the Science Center as you stroll the bending corridor of the USS Enterprise. When you step from the corridor into the room holding the Transporter, be sure that you don’t miss the case containing crucial “Star Trek” gadgets like the tricorder and the communicator, which is thought to have inspired the modern-day flip phone.
7. History of the Future
Can’t keep track of what happened in the 23rd century versus the 24th?
The History of the Future room starts from man’s first historic landing on the moon in 1969 and goes into detail about pivotal events in the more than four-decade existence of “Star Trek,” pulling together happenings in “The Next Generation,” “Voyager” and “Deep Space Nine.”
8. USS Enterprises
Before you head through the exit corridor, be sure you catch the starship models filmed over and over in the “Star Trek” series. There’s the greenish Klingon Vor’Cha Class attack cruiser from “The Next Generation” and the blue-and-white Starship Excelsior piloted by Capt. Hikaru Sulu in “Voyager.”
The most eye-popping prop sits in a neighboring case: the USS Enterprise NCC-1701D seen flying throughout the seven-season run of “The Next Generation.” Clearly visible are the Enterprise’s bridge, dock and famous twin warp nacelle engines.
COSTUMES ENCOURAGED, WEAPONS NOT
If you plan on visiting “Star Trek: The Exhibition” at the Detroit Science Center, leave your bat’leths and phasers at home. Science Center spokeswoman Kelly Fulford said even harmless prop weapons can worry visitors, and it’s best to leave those at home.
She does, however, encourage those with “Star Trek” jumpsuits and Klingon uniforms to dress up because it “adds to the experience.”
STAR TREK: THE EXHIBITION
When: Through Sept. 7.
Hours: 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sat.-Sun.
Where: Detroit Science Center, 5020 John R, Detroit.
Admission (includes museum and special exhibit): $18.95; $14.95 for kids younger than 12 and adults 60 and older.
Extras: $6 for audio tour (follow the Spock ears at the exhibit) and $6 for each simulator ride. Children must be at least 42 inches tall for simulator ride.
Info: 313-577-8400 or www.detroitsciencecenter.org.