by Stephen Johnson
photos by David Johnson
When I was a child, the adventures of Captain Kirk and Spock were a regular feature of my Saturday mornings. When I heard there was an exhibit called Star Trek: The Starfleet Academy Experience at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, I knew it had to be on our summer must-do list.
With all the Trekkies loaded up into the car (my wife, Sandy and our son, David) we arrived safely at the museum not having to engage at warp speed (only bad Star Trek joke in this article!) We entered the adjacent hangar building to the museum where the Star Trek exhibit takes place. We were given wristbands which activates the interactive technology inside the exhibit.
Prior to arrival, I had filled David in on some of the history of Star Trek. He was impressed to see a large model of the USS Enterprise. The fun really started once we entered the main hall. The first interactive station featured providing medical diagnosis for an ailing Klingon. David scanned the Klingon and gave his expert advice via computer. He may have saved the Klingon’s life!
Keeping with the Klingon theme, the next station featured the opportunity to learn some Klingon. There was a short dialogue on the computer that David had to repeat. It seems that his Klingon is better than mine as I did not advance past the elementary stage.
Perhaps the most fun we had in the entire exhibit was the Species Selfie. David, Sandy and I all had our photos taken which we could then modify on the computer. David had great fun making his Dad’s skin pink or giving huge ears to his Mom. By the time our little Rembrandt was done, we truly looked like we were from another galaxy.
One thing I have always loved about Star Trek was the futuristic technology. As a kid, I was intrigued by the transporter that could seemingly vaporize people to another location. Of course, I was thrilled to see the exhibit featured a transporter. Luckily for us, all the transporting was only virtual. The end video looked very convincing as our son seemingly vanished into space.
Next up, it was time to test our phaser skills. The station was similar to other video shooting games. I was far from an expert marksman as my wife and son easily surpassed my score.
The final part of our Star Trek experience was a trip aboard the flight deck. There, we played a video game that gave us different scenarios to see how well-suited we were to be captain. My shoot first and ask questions later did not earn a very high score. David’s more reasoned approach to the game earned him far higher marks.
The Star Trek exhibit will not only be a hit with die-hard Trekkies. The interactive nature of the displays make it a lot of fun for everyone, especially kids. There was also plenty of science and technology information making it a learning experience as well. The long-time fan is also well-served as there is memorabilia, as well as information, from the various Star Trek franchises. All of the staff members were very helpful guiding customers through the interactive technology. Of course, there is the museum right next door if you want to learn more about flight and space travel.
There will also be summer camps based around the Star Trek exhibit this summer. The cost of admission to the exhibit also includes a free admission to the museum making it a very affordable day. For more information, visit, www.casmuseum.techno-science.ca
Live long and prosper!