CARDIFF, Wales -- As iconic as the Starship Enterprise or the Millennium Falcon, the TARDIS -- that big blue police box -- has been transporting Doctor Who on his time travels for "centuries."
Now fans of the show, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, get to join the Time Lord and "fly" the TARDIS on an adventure at the Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff Bay, where the series is filmed.
It starts off with video segments of the current Doctor -- Matt Smith -- who needs help with a mission, and before you know it, the blue doors open up and you're in the TARDIS. It's a bit of a thrill really to be standing at the controls, lights flashing, the Doctor armed with his Sonic Screwdriver.
Soon enough you're face-to-face with those scary Daleks and then creeping past weeping Angels (don't you dare blink). There are loads of special effects and the whole thing is super fun (although it may be a bit scary for young children).
And once your mission is complete, there's still plenty to see because there's an extensive collection of original Doctor Who props and the entire collection of the Doctors' iconic costumes from 1963 to the present day. Who can forget the floppy hat and seemingly endless scarf worn by Tom Baker's Doctor (1974-1981)? Baker and David Tennant (2005-2010) are my two favourite Doctors, although current one Matt Smith is pretty awesome, too. There have been 11 generations of Doctors so far, starting in 1963 with William Hartnell.
And of course, where in time would the good Doctor be without his companions -- Rose Tyler (played by Billie Piper), River Song (Alex Kingston), Astrid Peth (Kylie Minogue) and Amy Pond (Karen Gillan). Their costumes are on display as well.
Fans can also check out the full David Tennant TARDIS set, plus more scary creatures and foes than you can probably handle in one place. Along with those hate-filled Daleks, there are Cybermen, Sontarans, Silurians and Zygons.
Specially created sets, images and interactive experiences allow you to discover first-hand what happens behind the scenes of the iconic television series and how the special effects are created.
The regeneration of Cardiff Bay is one of the most successful waterfront development projects anywhere, and is now a focus for arts and entertainment in Wales capital city. There are numerous bars, restaurants and hotels, and along with the Doctor Who Experience, it is home to the outstanding performing arts space, the Wales Millennium Centre. Visitors should also stop by the Senedd, which houses the National Assembly of Wales, for a coffee and a look at the wonderful undulating wooden ceiling.
NEED TO KNOW