Thursday, March 28, 2013

Hands On History At The Titanic Museum In Pigeon Forge - Our Review And A Giveaway

We were in Greenville, SC for a homeschool convention on March 14th-16th. I had decided that a short family adventure would be a lot of fun afterwards so we traveled across 3 states in one day through the Smokey Mountains to Pigeon Forge where we visited the Titanic Museum. We had been trying for quite sometime to visit the Titanic Museum and are so glad we finally made it.

A moms review:
The Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge was absolutely fabulous. The museum is very easy to find and is right on the Parkway strip. Don't worry you WON'T miss is pretty impossible to miss a 22,000 square foot ship!!! Parking is FREE and the experience starts right away from the moment you step out of your car. Flying from the light poles are flags representing the many countries that the Titanic passengers were from. And there is beautiful Irish music playing. My kids started dancing right there in the parking lot.

As we walked up to the museum entrance we were greeted by two very friendly employees costumed as a maid and captain. They welcomed us and chatted with the kids a little then told us where to go to pick up our tickets. We entered the museum received our tickets, boarding passes and audio tour devices. They also explained to us how to utilize the audio tour devices (I highly recommend utilizing them).

The boarding passes are really neat and they have adult versions and children versions. The boarding passes show departure dates and times, the name, age and country of residence of an actual passenger, the passengers class and brief information about their lives and voyage on-board the Titanic (see photo above). At the very end of the museum tour there is a memorial wall with all the 2,208 passengers names. Here you can find out the fate of your assigned passenger. The children's boarding passes also include a fun scratch off scavenger hunt. Gwyn lost hers but we ended up finding an adult one laying on the ground so our passengers ended up being Master Ralph Wells, Caroline Endres and Lucy Countess of Rothes. I will tell you their fates at the end of the post!

The kids were very excited to have their own audio tour devices and immediately started searching for the plaques with the codes. The audio tour was amazing, very user friendly and it really enhanced our experience. There are two separate codes one for adults and one for children. We mostly utilized the child tour. The tour explains the various exhibits and artifacts in an interesting and easy to understand way (the kids listen much better when a lady with an accent is explaining things). The children also started searching for the answers to their boarding pass trivia questions.

In the first exhibit there was an employee all dressed up of course that explained how and where the Titanic was built, the route it traveled and where it hit the iceberg. There was a really large map on the wall which had the route marked out. He did a fabulous job of speaking to both adults and children and answered all my children's questions as well.

Throughout the museum there were child friendly activities and hands on learning experience, like a furnace which you can try your hand at shoveling coal into a furnace and a kennel with a stuffed dog. Yes even the various pets that were aboard the Titanic were not left out in the tour. There were also great multiple choice trivia question stations throughout where you could test your Titanic knowledge. There were tons (over 400) amazing would you like to see a teddy bear that is worth $25,000. There were letters, photos, jewelry, a tooth in a box and more!!!

Photo credit: Titanic museum website

After walking through several awesome exhibits, one of which even had a replica 3rd class cabin and a flooding staircase we ended up at the beautiful full scale 1 million dollar Grand Staircase. Here we were greeted by a maid. She told us a special story about a young girl who was had boarded the Titanic with her mother (watch Gwyn's video below for the story). After she was finished she told my son that he was to escort his ladies up the stairs...he giggle the entire way up as he escorted, us. There is an elevator available for those may require it.

Photo credit: Titanic museum website
Upstairs there was a replica hallway, replica 1st class stateroom, Titanic movie exhibit and my kids favorite the captains bridge and starry night deck. On the starry night deck we got a first hand feel of just how cold the night air was the night the Titanic sank. We got to touch an iceberg, brrrr. And dip our hands in 29 degree salt water. Feeling the coldness of the air and the water really made us all empathize with the passengers that were on board the Titanic as she was sinking. Can you imagine plunging into icy cold water, in the dark. So many questions must have crossed their minds...will we be rescued, freeze or drown? I wonder if my family has made it safely onto a life boat?

Photo credit: Titanic museum website
Photo credit: Titanic museum website
Photo credit: Titanic museum website
After walking through several exhibits upstairs we headed back down the Grand Staircase to continue our journey. On our way to the next exhibit we stopped for a rest in the theater were we watched a short video which included actual footage of the Titanic being built, etc. Next we made our way into the NEW exhibit which is dedicated to the 133 children that were aboard the Titanic. There was a wall showing all of the children, their names, ages, passenger class and more. This was so heartbreaking. Tears began to form as I tried to read names and ages to my children. Luckily staff was nearby to take over and share some stories with us.

Photo credit: Titanic museum website

And now for my kids most FAVORITE part an interactive area (which is not just for the children). There are sloping decks of the ships stern (3 angles) as she descended, an SOS station, knot tying station, actual size replica lifeboat with true passenger stories, ship terminology and Tot-Titanic (for 8 yrs and younger) where you can steer the Titanic, read stories and complete puzzles. Yeah we spent about an hour in this exhibit. So parents be prepared!!! In this exhibit we learned about Millvina Dean who was the youngest  passenger aboard the Titanic (just 2 months old) and the last remaining survivor (2 February 1912 – 31 May 2009). The youngest passenger who actually remembers the terrible night was around 5 or 6 years old.

Photo credit: Titanic museum website
Photo credit: Titanic museum website
Photo credit: Titanic museum website
Photo credit: Titanic museum website
On they way out of the exhibit a staff member will take your photo for a souvenir picture that you can later purchase in the gift shop.

Next we entered the discovery center where you can experience John Joslyn's (owner of Titanic museum) dive to the Titanic wreckage. You can even operate a submersible on a computer. The kids found this very fascinating as well.

Photo credit: Titanic museum website
And then our tour ended. We came upon the memorial wall dedicated to all 2,208 passengers that were aboard the Titanic. I told you I would tell you our fates...well we were all survivors. There was an employee in this exhibit as well to help you locate your passenger and also share some additional facts about them.

Photo credit: Titanic museum website
Before heading outside to walk around the ship we did visit the gift shop which is filled with lots of Titanic souvenirs, books and more. There are lots of small, inexpensive items great for kids. You can also view and purchase your souvenirs photos if you choose. I caved and purchased the photos as my souvenir (they are a little expensive). And the kids each picked out a souvenir.

Our souvenir photo.
Be sure to take time to walk around the outside of the Titanic. It is really quite breathtaking and you can  take LOTS of great family pictures outside!!!

Do you know what RMS stands for? How many pets were on board? Where the Titanic was built? Or how about the name of the wealthiest passenger? Or what the floor was made of? Well I am not telling will just have to visit the museum yourself to find out. There are so many fascinating and cool things about this fabulous museum that I am sure I missed a few things.

The kids review:
Gwyns vlog review pretty much sums up their thoughts. They are still talking about it.

Extra details:
-There is no photography is allowed inside (thus the reason for the stock photos).
-The museum is stroller friendly and handicap accessible.
-There is no cafe so eat before arriving.
-There is no food or drink is allowed in the museum.
-Cell phones must be turned off prior to entering.
-If you are utilizing this as an educational fieldtrip be sure to prep in advance and utilize the many FREE education resources on the Titanic Museum website. There are awesome lesson plans, scavenger hunts and more which will really enhance your trip and turn the ship into your classroom for the day.
-Allow yourself plenty of time to take the tour it took us about 2 hours.
-I highly encourage you to take a few days when you go. There are lots of great family things to see and do in Pigeon Forge and plenty of great reasonably priced hotels to choose from. Dollywood is another must see!

-Homeschool Day is currently being offered through May. Admission is only $12.00 for students and  $13.50 for chaperons. Visit my blog post from earlier this month for more details on the homeschool special.
-Titanic Museum offers many SPECIALS and events so be sure to visit the website to view details on package specials, military discounts, events and more.

2134 Parkway
Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

When to visit:

The Titanic Museum has two locations Pigeon Forge, TN and Branson, MO. Hours vary depending on the month and they are closed Christmas day. Be sure to visit the website to see the hours of operation. If you plan to visit during a holiday weekend or during Spring break, etc they encourage you to reserve your tickets ahead of time.

 Advanced Reservation prices"
Adults - $21.38 + tax
Child (5-12) - $11.14 + tax
Family pass (2 adults, 4 children) - $58.80 + tax
Children 4 and under are free

Links to follow:
-Titanic Website
-Titanic Facebook
-Titanic Twitter

Now time for the giveaway: 
The Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge has graciously offered to giveaway a family pass (2 adults, 4 children 5-12). Only the first entry is mandatory. Other entries are optional and give you extra chances. This giveaway is not affiliated with Facebook in any way. The winners will be posted on the blog and will be emailed. Winners must reply within 48 hrs with their contact information or another winner will be chosen. Prize will be sent to the winner in the mail.

Please wait a moment for Rafflecopter to load.....
a Rafflecopter giveaway

*prices indicated in post are subject to change.
**because photography is not allowed in the museum many of the photos above are stock photos from the Titanic Museum press page.


Joanie Coleman Barnwell said...

the officers on the bridge had only 37 seconds to react before the Titanic hit the iceberg

Rebecca Ray said...

2/3 of the passengers onboard died in the tragedy

mary summers said...

Milvina Dean was the youngest passenger and was the last survivor

Brooke Baker said...

The Titanic hit an iceberg at 11:40 p.m. on April 14, 1912 and sunk about two-and-a-half hours later.

Jennie said...

The equivalent cost of a ticket today would be ~$57,000. Thanks for the chance to win!

Lisa C said...

Thanks for this giveaway. We have been wanting to go for a while now! :)

Nicole R. said...

Instead of having a scheduled lifeboat drill the day that they hit the iceberg, for unknown reasons the Captain Smith cancelled it.

Allison said...

The Titanic cost 7.5 million to build

Jennifer Thomas said...

The ship was loaded with only enough lifeboats to hold half of the Titanic passengers. There were 20 of them with a total capacity of 1178 people

J & M Rearden said...

The titanic sank after hitting an iceburg.

daneandkim said...

133 children were onboard the titanic

Cheryl Hutcherson said...

133 children on board

Wendy Pierce said...

There was a ship, the Californian, stopped in the water just 10 miles away the whole time the Titanic was going down.

Kelly Goldman said...

There were 13 couples honeymooning on the Titanic

Amy said...

Millvina Dean was the youngest passenger on the Titanic.

Leslie said...

We just visited a travelling Titanic exhibit yesterday and loved it. We would really enjoy experiencing more of it at this exhibit. Enjoyed reading your post.

Leslie said...

Oops. We just visited a local traveling exhibit on the Titanic yesterday. My youngest daughter's ticket was for Milvina Dean - the last living survivor from the Titanic.

Laura said...

Glad you enjoyed it! We LOVE the Titanic Museum Attraction!

It's SUCH a neat thing to see! So intense!

About the museum AND more fun things to do in Pigeon Forge here:

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