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VIDEO VAULT | Star Trek: The Experience was a fan-favorite attraction in Las Vegas

Borg on Monorail.jpg

Twenty years ago, a new type of attraction opened in Las Vegas. It was part ride, part theater and part ambient, interactive experience. In fact, "Star Trek: The Experience" was the name, and it ran for about a decade at the Las Vegas Hilton.

"It is the most exciting space, the most thrilling space," developer Paramount's Susan Lomax told News 3 in late 1997. "Every aspect of it is just unbelievable."

The centerpiece was a motion simulator, where it appeared you had been beamed up to a flight deck.

"You are met by a Star Fleet crew member who explains that you are aboard the Enterprise," described Lomax. "He rushes you down a corridor to the bridge where you get your mission instructions."

From there, the ride became state-of-the-art.

"More movement than any other simulator available in the world. So it provides for a very realistic and believable space mission."

Just getting there involved first walking through a themed gaming area with "Space Windows".

"Those are three large windows that give you that view into space. You see spaceships going by and you see the planet earth," said the Hilton's Tim Chanaud.

"Here at the SpaceQuest Casino, you won't find handles on these slot machines," News-3's Jennifer Ramirez demonstrated. "Just hit the spin button to those wheels moving, or run your hand through this light beam. And hopefully you'll be launched into a major jackpot."

"You step aboard a spaceship orbiting the earth in the 24th century," added Chanaud. "And you're in a 24th century of gaming with table games and slot machines that really take you into the future."

Also along the way, the other worldly Quark's Bar and Restaurant where you might encounter Klingons, Ferengis, and later elements of the Borg, who could be found venturing from the Hilton Monorail Station onto a themed train.

"Visiting its resorts. Seeing all that the Las Vegas Strip has to offer," a part of the Borg told News 3. "That is where the aliens will observe and interact peacefully with them."

But in 2008, new contract talks fell apart between the show's operators and the Hilton, surprising enthusiastic fans.

"I've been coming here for 6 years," one visitor told News-3. "And there's no other place like this."

"We just found out it was closing and we rushed right over here from the airport, literally," added another.

The performers meanwhile, stayed in character to the end.

"It has been somewhat of an easy duty for us here," said Beverly Lynn Sterling as Klingon Major Khalen. "It is not something Klingons are used to. We are used to working hard every day."

"Fight battles. Visit Raisa for pleasure," said Charles Thomas Deishley playing Klingon General Motog considering options for the future. "That would be fun. Because the females here are a bit fragile."

Since then, the Hilton has turned over twice. First becoming the LVH and then the Westgate. There have been rumors of a new Star Trek Experience at other locations, but so far nothing has come of them.

The cast, crew and creators are gathering for a 20th anniversary reunion party this Friday night at the Millennium Fandom Bar on Las Vegas Boulevard in the downtown area from 7:00 PM to 2:00 AM. The public is invited, Age 21 and over.

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