Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose: The Star Wars Exhibit

The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose: The Star Wars Exhibit

The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose’s current special exhibit is Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination through the end of February. Star Wars themed things usually disappoint me, as a die-hard, and old school Star Wars fan, so I was happily impressed with this exhibit. There are lots of original models, costumes and props from the movies. The models are very impressive, even by our more modern standards. I could really get on a much deeper level than I did before why they had been so groundbreaking back in the 70’s and 80’s.

The hands on activities are a lot of fun too. We experimented with magnetic lego hovercrafts, droids that needed to move across uneven ground, and lots of others. There is also a real (although small) hovercraft to ride on. The exhibit was not very busy when we were there, our group was the first in of the day, and we still had to work our way in to a spot for some activities. I can easily imagine that on a crowded day it could be tough to get a turn, although I do believe they limit entrances to the special exhibits to keep crowds under control.

Within in the larger Star Wars exhibit there is what they call the Millennium Falcon experience. It is an additional small cost. Basically, you get to enter a wonderful replica of the bridge of the Millennium Falcon where you watch a 4 ½ minute video through the cockpit window about our real universe and all the planets and galaxies that have been discovered. The actual video wasn’t anything too thrilling, but the Millennium Falcon was fun. There were even some switches to flip, although most of the buttons were fake, and couldn’t be pushed, I found one that was pushable. And, most importantly, it does the jumping into hyperspace bit at the beginning of the video. Still, if getting to sit in the Falcon isn’t worth five bucks to you, then skip this extra bit. There is only seating for four inside, and it runs nearly five minutes. So you can imagine that could lead to quite a wait. For example, we were in the first group into the Star Wars exhibit, and had about a 40 minute wait for our turn in the Millennium Falcon. I do have to give kudos to the staff for their solution to the wait. You can leave a cell number and get a text when your turn is up. So you don’t have to stand in line the whole time.

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