I have a secret to tell you; I am not as creative as I may seem! There are certain areas that creativity comes to me quite easily, like writing, sewing and DIY flea market find projects. Where I am not especially creative is planning the kids birthdays. When they were little, it was easy to buy some Blues Clues or Spongebob decorations, tableware, wrapping paper, some balloons and a store bought cake. Now that they are older, it gets a little trickier to come up with things that the kids will really enjoy. This year, we decided to visit a local attraction that Henry has been begging to see for about a year now. The Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge, TN and Branson, MO is one of the cool things to do on your birthday or any other day of the year! We visited the Pigeon Forge location as it is only about 30 minutes from our home and boy did we have the most memorable time!
Cool Things To Do On Your Birthday
We have been dying to see the Titanic attraction and when we were invited to come and spend Henry’s birthday, we could not wait! We were asked to come 30 minutes before the doors opened to the public because they had a little something planned for Henry. When I was corresponding with Lorene to set up the visit, I had mentioned to her that Henry had autism. A few days before our visit, Lorene emailed and asked if it would be appropriate to have the crew members sing Happy Birthday to Henry while we were there. I cannot tell you how full my heart was with appreciation that she would be so considerate. I asked Henry and he gave me two thumbs up and a huge grin! When you pull up to the attraction, you immediately see an exact replica of part of the Titanic, or the Asphalt Ship as it has been called! As you walk around the ship, there is water crashing against the bow, a huge iceberg on it’s right and one of the original anchors stands proudly in front. Depending on the angle you are standing at or looking towards, it looks exactly like the original Titanic is right there in front of you!
We were greeted by Lorene and one of the crew members who escorted us inside where the other crew members were waiting. We were each given an audio unit to hang around our necks which is used to hear the audio portion of the tour. When you see numbered areas throughout the ship, you just punch in the number and the narrator will tell you about that area, item or person. Next we were each given a card with a real passengers names and information about them. You are told to hang on to the card until the end of the tour to see what your fate was on that tragic night. Henry was Master William Carter, 11 and Caitlin was his sister, Lucille who was 13. Both were accompanied by their parents and were in first class as they were among the wealthiest of all the passengers. I was Rosa Abbott and I was 39 and had my two teenage sons with me on the voyage. Chris was Thomas Andrews, who was 39 at the time of the sailing and he helped design the Titanic.
Crew member Jodi, our guide, escorted us into the first area where you can see an original trunk that was salvaged along with pictures of crew, staff, passengers and even the lone dog on the voyage. We went from room to room looking at china, flatware, clothing, artifacts, a replicated 3rd class room, a glorious wall of photographs from Father Browne and even memorabilia from the movie.
I will be honest, you will ride a roller coaster of emotions as you walk through the ship, reading about the passengers, their stories, their families and of course, their fate. When we got to the Grand Staircase, I felt as if I were back in time. The plans were followed exactly and it is just awe inspiring. I cannot show you a picture as cameras are not allowed inside, but here is a video that shows how gorgeous it is. When we walked in, the whole crew was waiting and one gentlemen stepped forward and asked Henry if he would be an assistant on the ship as he was quite busy and needed help. Henry shyly nodded yes. Afterwards, he handed Henry a “real live Captain’s Hat” and they all sang Happy Birthday. I, know! I cried too!! It was easily the most special and thoughtful thing to have done for a little boy who loves the Titanic as much as Henry does. We were told they can do weddings and vow renewals on the staircase! How cool would that be?!
My favorite area was the movie memorabilia where the hats, some of the clothing worn by the cast and other props from the set are on view. The dress that Kate Winslet wears at the end of the movie is in the Pigeon Forge location and you can even see water stains from where she was in the water so much during filming. There is an interactive kids room which we all enjoyed very much. You can try your hand at tying some of the knots the crew members would have used, walked up various degrees of slope while the Titanic was sinking and a steering wheel you can try and avoid the iceberg with! Henry and his friend loved the magnetic puzzle of the ship and put it together in record time (or so Miss Jodi said) and Caitlin was able to tie every single one of the knots. Her dad and I were able to tie none!
One of the most sobering rooms for all of us is the iceberg room where there is a real, growing iceberg that needs to be shipped at periodically to keep it tamed! The ice and the water you can put your hands in is 28 degrees, which is the temperature of the water. Feeling that and knowing so many people were left in that water fighting for their lives was very sobering for all of us. The final room is the wall which lists all of the passengers and their fate. Master William Carter, his sister and parents all survived the sinking of the grand ship, but Thomas Andrews did not as he went down with his beloved ship. Rosa Abbott was badly burned while attempting to board a lifeboat, but the freezing water that killed so many, is said to have saved Rosa. Sadly, her two young sons perished on that night, leaving Rosa alone. She did eventually remarry and had two more sons and lived to be 79 years old! Needless to say, we enjoyed our visit to the Titanic Museum so much and plan to go back soon because there was so much to see that we could not get it all in on one visit! If you are ever in the Pigeon Forge or Branson, MO area, you will be remiss if you do not hop on board the grand ship and take her tour!
Titanic Pigeon Forge
2134 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
Toll Free: 800-381-7670 or 417-334-9500
Hours: 9am – 9pm
- Advanced: Adult – $22.27 and Child (5-12) – $11.14 (plus tax)
- Family Pass (2 adults and 2 children): $60.58 (plus tax)
- Audio Unit ($5.47 per person)