Sunday, June 19, 2011

Titanic comes to life

On June 11th our family had the privilege of visiting the Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee as part of the Mommy Bloggers group. Never having been to the Titanic the kids were more than a little excited about our trip. Although I had to repeatedly tell Michael, who is six,  we weren't sailing anywhere and we didn't need water for our trip, he still wasn't convinced. Our tour began with the 9:00 AM boarding. We were each given a boarding pass of a passenger that was on the actual Titanic. The boarding pass gave the passengers name, their class status, age and city of residence. Also on the boarding pass is a short story of the person it represents, telling who they were and why they were on the Titanic. The pass also includes a question, such as "Would there be a lifeboat for me?"

After receiving our boarding pass another member of the crew gave us each a listening device that we would use for the new audio tour. Our group was then ushered into the front room where we found out how our listening devices worked. The kids were so excited when we started through the museum. There are two different audio tours you can listen to. There is one for adults and one for children. On the wall there are plaques with numbers on them, blue for adults and red for children. You type in the number and press play. All four of our children loved being able to listen as they wanted to their own "story." Mollie, who is four, let me know real quick she knew what she was doing and needed NO help in punching in her numbers. As you listen to the adult tour you hear the voices of actual survivors of the Titanic as well as First Class Maid Jaynee. I listened to both tours in some areas and only to the kids in others. The biggest reason being that I wanted to be able to talk to the kids about what they were hearing.

As we moved from the first room into the second, there is a large map on the wall. The map showed the route the Titanic took. As we stepped up to the interactive panel in front of the map, Mary Kellogg, who along with her husband John Joslyn, (who led the 1986 expedition to the real Titanic), told how the Titanic left port and its future demise. She shared with our family her husband's desire to never let the Titanic, her passengers and their stories disappear. Her passion for this attraction was very evident in her telling of the Titanic. Personally it was my favorite part of the tour, to hear her passion and know that she is part of this important documentary of history.

We moved throughout the Titanic first seeing how Third Class passengers lived on the boat, visiting the dog kennel, shoveling coal into the furnace and ultimately standing at the bottom of the Grand Staircase.
We ascended the Grand Staircase after a visit with a crew member who told us about the materials used in building the staircase. On the next level we got to see the difference in Third Class living and First Class as we visited and learned of the wealthier passengers on the trip. We learned about three more of the passengers on our boarding passes.

A First Class Maid led Michael to a display to see the grossest thing on the ship. I locket of hair and beard. I can't remember the passengers name but he had cut it and mailed it to his wife. Michael thought it odd, but was more impressed with the maid's British accent, trying to decide if she really talked like that even when she wasn't on the Titanic.

Continuing on we steered the Titanic, touched an iceberg, felt the 28 degree water just like the passengers did that fateful night, sent SOS messages, climbed the deck at differing degrees of sinking and sat in a life size lifeboat. The kids played in the children's area and then we had our pictures made together.

We began to make our way to the end of our tour as we found the names on our boarding passes. Each of our passengers had survived the sinking. We saw pictures that were truly amazing and unbelievable. A room dedicated to the expedition to the Titanic tells of Mr. Joslyn's journey to the Titanic at the bottom of the ocean.

We turned in our audio tour devices and descended the Grand Staircase to make a visit to the gift shop. We purchased a thimble to remember our trip. Our nine year old, Mattie has talked about visiting the Titanic since it was being built. She was very pleased with her "awesome" tour and wanted to go back through. Maggie, our seven year old loved the dog kennel and trying to find Mademoiselle Frou Frou.
Michael was impressed that we had docked in the same exact spot the ship was in outside when we entered. Mollie liked the TotTitanic the best. Mike and I were very impressed with such detail and passion that has went into this museum. We are very thankful to have been able to be a part of this tour and see first hand what the Titanic was all about.

Someone asked me at church what I really thought of the Titanic. It is awesome, everyone should try to visit it at least once. Would I recommend it for small children under four, it depends. Mollie will be five next month and two hours was a little long for her, although the Tot-Titanic couldn't have come at a better point in the tour. If your child is four or younger it would depend on their attention span, but I would probably wait until they were a little older. I wish that I had remembered to print the scavenger hunt from the website before we went, mine would have loved to work on that. The website also has educational things on it and I should have done a little "teaching" before we went. It would have helped with all their questions, but we were able to talk and research more when we returned home. Mike who is a history buff researched about the sister ships of the Titanic and Mattie enjoyed sharing in another bit of history with her Daddy.

With that being said, go visit the Titanic, check out Titanic Museum online, friend them on Facebook at Titanic Museum Pigeon Forge, TN and follow them on Twitter at Titanic USA.

Disclaimer: Opinions in this blog are entirely mine. We received free admission to the Titanic as part of the mommy bloggers invite. Pictures found in this blog are from the Titanic Museum website as pictures are prohibited inside the museum.

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