Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Titanic Museum - A Must See!

I have always been fascinated by the story of the Titanic. Long before the blockbuster movie caused a media craze and broke records, I sat captivated by documentaries explaining just what made that "unsinkable ship" sink. In the fifth grade, my favorite book was about a boy and a girl who traveled back in time and found themselves aboard the RMS Titanic on the very day that it would hit the infamous iceberg and sink to the bottom of the ocean. I longed to know more about what happened during the voyage, who the people were, where they were from, and how the lucky managed to escape what should have been certain death.

This is the actual outside of the museum. Awesome!

I knew that when we planned our trip to Branson, MO this year that the Titanic Museum had to be one of the stops that we would make with our family. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, and I couldn't think of a better time to revisit this incredible place, which pays reverent homage to the hundreds that lost their lives on April 14, 1912.

Eric and I visited the Titanic Museum for the first time in 2008, before we were married and had children of our own. It was definitely a different experience with kids in tow! But more on that in a minute. :)

If you've never been to the Titanic Museum, then let me give you the experience in a nutshell. Upon arrival, each visitor will "become" a passenger aboard the Titanic and will be given a card with an actual passenger's name and short biography. As you move through each exhibit, you will learn more about what your experience would have been like as a first, second, or third class passenger aboard the ship. Along the way, crew members might ask you who you are, and without a doubt they will have a comment to make about your story. (I don't know HOW they remember all of that information, but they do!) When we last visited, one gentleman showed a crew member his card, and she said, "Tisk, tisk - you should have listened to your mother!" I thought that was pretty hilarious. :)

Peeks at a couple of exhibits. :)

At the end of your journey you will find yourself in the memorial room, where the names of all of the passengers line the walls. It's at this time that you learn your fate. Did you survive, or did you perish? In our most recent trip, my daughter Evelyn and I managed to find safety in a lifeboat, but Eric and Gracie did not. When you "become" the passengers on the ship, it really is a sobering reminder that these were real people, with real stories, and this really happened.

The names of all of the passengers line the walls....

The Titanic Museum displays over 400 artifacts recovered from the ocean or from survivors and family members in its exhibits. There is an exact replica of the grand staircase, and even the hallways become part of the immersive experience. At one point visitors will find themselves walking through a scaled third-class passageway, which really allows the mind to envision what it was like to walk the corridors in the belly of the ship. I personally enjoyed peeking into the third and first class staterooms and seeing the differences between the two. One of the last stops on the ship is a truly interactive room. Guests can experience the slope of the ship as it sank, sit in a life-size version of a lifeboat, and even test their endurance by sticking their hand in a basin of water cooled to the exact temperature of the ocean that night. <-- I couldn't hold my hand in for more than ten seconds before it hurt so badly that it started to cramp. I couldn't imagine my WHOLE body in that water.

No, that's not a movie set! It's the grand staircase replica inside of the museum! If you don't have to take the elevator, you ascend these stairs to get to the second story.

There is so much to see and do that you could literally spend hours wandering around. But...that wasn't exactly the case for us this time, haha. The Titanic Museum is very family friendly, but if you have squirrely little ones like we do, then you know you have to keep them moving or they make a lot of noise. :) After visiting the museum once with children and once without I've noticed several little details that I may have overlooked before. Hopefully our experience can help you plan a future trip with younger children!

Tip #1 - Don't hesitate to bring your stroller, but make sure it's a single-file stroller and not a side-by-side. The museum is handicap accessible, which means your stroller will easily wheel around the exhibits, and there is even an elevator that you can take to get to the second level. However, in a few places there are interior doors separating the rooms, and I'm not 100% sure that a side-by-side would fit through them. (Yours might, but I can't guarantee it. As some of you know, we've had issues with our side-by-side not fitting through doorways at our local zoo.)

Tip #2 - Unlike some of the louder, flashier stops in Branson, MO, the Titanic museum is a much slower, quieter experience. Planning your visit during nap time or down time would be an excellent idea! If your child can sleep comfortably in a stroller then they will be happy to snooze while you take your time enjoying the exhibits.

Tip #3 - Don't bother brining your camera, because you cannot take your own pictures. (I hear that it's to preserve all of the artifacts.) However, there is an opportunity at the end to have an official photo taken with your family. Eric and I took advantage of this when we were solo, but with kids we had to bypass it. It was totally lunchtime!

Tip #4 - While visiting the Titanic Museum is totally doable with little ones (we survived!) older children will definitely be able to appreciate it more, especially if they can read. I would not recommend going with a toddler if they are in a foul mood. You'd be better to pick a different time or day to come back when they are happier. I say this only because of the quieter atmosphere and out of deference to other guests who will be trying to enjoy themselves. (Haha.) If your child is squawking, they will definitely be heard, and you will probably be embarrassed. I'm not speaking out of experience or anything...*cough, cough.* ;)

Tip #5 - Finally, have fun! You're on vacation! Take it slow, soak it in, and don't be afraid to ask the extremely knowledgeable staff questions as you walk through. It definitely enriches the experience.

One last picture, because I just can't help myself! :) Here is a look inside of a first-class stateroom. 

As a side note, we picked a very lucky weekend to be visiting the Titanic Museum. They were hosting an annual ice carving competition outside, and we were able to stroll through and look at all of the masterpieces. $25,000 in prize money was at stake, and those carvers meant business! It was really neat, if I do say so myself.

The Titanic Museum in Branson, MO remains one of my favorite attractions, and I would highly encourage any family who might find themselves in the area to see it and experience it for themselves. I give it two thumbs up!


We would like to thank the Titanic Museum for welcoming us as their guests on this trip in exchange for blogging about our experience. We truly enjoyed ourselves! If you are a mom blogger and would like to learn more about blogging for the Titanic Museum, visit this link. Hope you're able to visit them soon!

Have you ever visited the Titanic Museum, or do you think it seems like a fun time? Make sure to let the staff at the museum know if you think their "unsinkable ship" is the bees knees by leaving a comment below! :)


Melissa W. said...

Very cool!!

I didn't even know there was a Titanic museum in Branson!!

We will definitely have to check it out. Thanks for sharing your experience!

Heather said...

Wow, that looks amazing! I've always been fascinated with the story as well.

Melissa Cheek said...

We went to Branson on our honeymoon and that was definitely a stop we made. We loved it. It was so neat. Josh held his hand in the water until the timer had went back around again, but he also would have perished because he was the captain. Definitely something I would go back to again.

Eric Robert said...

If you're a museum nerd like me, you'll want to block out 2.5-3 hours to fully experience the Titanic museum in Branson. Unfortunately, that may not be possible with a toddler in tow, but if you have the time (and the babysitter!) make sure you explore everything in the museum carefully. There are a ton of great artifacts and documents to discover.

Anonymous said...

Ohhh I want to go there, it looks really amazing.
I am also fascinated by the story.

Glingdidit said...

We've not been to the Branson museum, but we've totally hit up the Pigeon Forge location. A-Maz-Ing! We were definitely in there for close to 4 hours. (I'm a nerd and like to read every little bit of information on every single display.) The only thing that would have made it better....would be if they let me wear the heart of the ocean and Rose's dress as I walked up that crazy-awesome staircase!

Lara said...

We went there last summer and Ty was given the role of a dog! We enjoyed walking through it all!


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