Set phasers for fun! That’s because Star Trek’s getting the theme park treatment in Aqaba, Jordan. Set to begin construction in March 2012, the Red Sea Astrarium, a $1.5 billion development comprised of four hotels and 17 amusement-park-style attractions, will feature a Star Trek-themed entertainment center, including a “space-flight adventure” simulator ride (a la Disney’s Star Tours) based on the 45-year-old franchise.
Puzzled by Starfleet’s incursion into Jordan? Actually, the current monarch, King Abdullah II is an avid Trek geek and even appeared on a season two episode of Star Trek: Voyager in 1996. He may be royalty, but, without a SAG card, he still wasn’t allowed a speaking part.
Of course, this news will be particularly heartening to fans (okay, me) who’ve never gotten over the loss of Star Trek: The Experience at the Las Vegas Hilton (pictured), with it’s faithful recreation of Quark’s Bar and DS9’s promenade. Though the flight simulator is the only ride to be confirmed thus far, the Jordan park could be as immersive an experience for the Starfleet faithful as Universal Orlando’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter is for the magically inclined. Imagine the possibilities! Restaurants serving targ and Vulcan-endorsed baked-beans washed down by Romulan ale — with raktajino to accompany gree-worms for dessert. If you visit the adjoining bar, remember: two tranya minimum.
As you can see, we’ve given this a lot of thought, so we’ve decided to pitch King Abdullah some other Trek-themed rides that we just know the Federation-friendly people of Jordan would love:
Cadet Kirk’s Orbital HALO Jump — Strap on a harness for a multi-story free-fall to save the planet Vulcan. Just like Chris Pine! Warning: Don’t ride immediately after visit to Klingon delicatessen.
Dr. McCoy’s Bumper Cars — Damn it, Jim, he’s not a doctor. He’s a bumper car!
“Escape from Rura Penthe” Runaway Train — Think Disney’s Matterhorn coaster, but with enslaved dilithium miners instead of boyish goatherds. And look out! Iman’s ahead!
Uhura’s Comm-Officer Challenge — An “educational” exhibit for younger Trekkers, in which we finally learn what it is Uhura does.
Tribble Pit — Take the multi-colored balls from your average amusement park ball-pit, add fur and a whirring motor, and your toddler will have Stardates-worth of fun.
“Why Does God Need a Starship?” Light-Show — A Final Frontier-themed laser and fireworks extravaganza concluding with “God” being destroyed by a photon torpedo. Leave before the sing-a-long rendition of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.”
Mirror-Universe Fun House — When you look in a mirror you see yourself with an Evil Spock goatee and find that you’re sexually harassing your female companions.
Orion Slave-Girl Show — For mature audiences only.
“The City on the Edge of the Parking Lot” Time-Travel Adventure — The final attraction at our hypothetical Star Trek theme park, which you ride right before you have to exit. It’ll send you back in time from the “24th century” to present-day Jordan, where you can marvel at the “ancient” 21st century city of Aqaba. After passing through the gift shop, of course. And no sets need to be built!
Hey, you can dream, right? Friends, Trekkers, Countrymen, would you be willing to make a pilgrimage to Jordan in the name of Trek?