All guests of The Space Place are treated to a “Special Presentation”….
You enter a darkened room, guided only by the glow the light saber you’re carrying. As door closes, you are plunged into total darkness. Within seconds you hear a soft, musical ‘chime’ and the familiar voice of Captain James T. Kirk: “Space, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise. Its five year mission…”
Still in total darkness, Goosebumps are now forming as your anticipation builds. Captain Kirk finishes: …”to boldly go where no man as gone before!” At that exact moment, the music shifts to the dramatic Star Wars main title, as a variety of systems jump into action.
Control Panels illuminate, arch lights in the walls and ceiling flicker to full brightness. The red circular lights in the floor invite you to step up to the main deck and plot your course through the universe of stars ahead of you.
Is this a movie set? An amusement attraction? No this is a room, in the lower level of our home. A room that we transformed into a starship. Actually this room is a playroom for our young children and their friends. ( “Yeah… right dad.” )
Over two years in the making, the creation of “The Space Place” has been an adventure in itself. Sometimes the construction was ‘laid back’ and casual, other times it was extremely frustrating as we came up against a few “situations”.
With some very understanding spouses and oodles of creativity, we unveiled The Space Place, Christmas Eve 1999.
“The Same Budget as Disney”
You might be interested to know, when we built the Space Place, we had the same budget as Disney!
Disney’s = ” no budget.” ($$$$$)
The Space Place = “NO budget” ( $0 )
Seriously, most of the The Space Place came from odds and ends found at local surplus stores. It was always fun to find something that looked unique, then figure out how it could ‘fit’ into the design. For example, look closely at the chairs: you’ll see a ‘modified’ office chair. (Which were donated from a local business…. NO materials were obtained through dumpster diving!)
As we got deeper into the project, we were always sketching or photographing ‘common’ items in an attempt to find more ‘space material’ for the room.
Star Trek or Star Wars ?
You might think, because we built a “Starship” in our lower level, we’re HUGE Star Trek fans. I’d say we’re more “Sci-fi enthusiasts”.
If you are a Star Wars OR Star Trek “purest”, you may be a bit confused when you spend some time in the Space Place. You’ll note the panels have the look of the LCARS control panels used in the Star Trek series.
Then you’ll look at the red illuminated circles on the three steps and realize that they are directly from Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back. We didn’t attempt to maintain continuity. Sorry, if we offended any ‘major’ fans!
To the right of the Main Deck are two sleeping pods. The original design had automatic sliding ‘doors’ that would raise and lower using motors and a series of pulleys. We actually had one side functioning, but scrapped the idea when we decided it was too dangerous. Safety is ALWAYS the prime directive!
Sleeping Pods for Small Space Travelers!
Escape Pod / Shuttle Craft
On the left wall, along the floor, you’ll find a small door that leads to an “escape pod”. This is actually the area of our home that goes below the stairs. It’s quite large and doubles as our “Storm / Tornado” shelter. Don’t laugh, wedo have tornados in Minnesota! A few years ago, our home was damaged in a small tornado… The Space Place …was unscathed!
Click Here to see The Main Deck Construction (Off Stage)