NYC Titanic Exhibits and 100th Anniversary Events Appropriate for Kids
Although most adults know the story of the Titanic (especially those of us who lived through Titanic-mania fueled by the 1997 movie), kids aren't familiar with the ship or its history. Many kids find the tragic story fascinating. My seven-year old son became obsessed with the ill-fated steamship last summer after reading a fictionalized account of the tragedy in the Magic Tree House book Tonight on the Titanic. He had so many questions about how this incredible ship could crash and sink on its very first journey that he went to the library to research the true story. He even watched iceberg simulations on the Internet trying to figure it out!
This week marks the 100th anniversary of the RMS Titanic and while there are lots of events commemorating the catastrophe in New York City (the ship was on its way to the Big Apple, after all), we've rounded up age-appropriate ways for kids to learn about the disaster.
Titanic at 100: Myth and Memory – South Street Seaport
South Street Seaport Museum, 12 Fulton Street between Front and South Streets
Opens Tuesday, April 10
Free with admission: $5, free for children under 9
The recently reopened South Street Seaport Museum is set to debut Titanic at 100: Myth and Mystery. The exhibit examines the disaster as well as the world's fascination with it, and includes many never-before-seen artifacts. The museum is a very kid-friendly spot and features cool installations like miniature ships in glass bottles and other nautical-themed displays.
Titanic Voices – Upper West Side
DiMenna Children’s History Museum at the New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West between 76th and 77th Streets
On view through Sunday, June 3
Free with admission: $15 for adults, $5 for children ages 7-13, free for kids under 7.
The interactive DiMenna Children’s History Museum will show off some objects from the New-York Historical Society's massive Titanic collection, like passenger Washington Dodge’s eyewitness account of the sinking handwritten on rescue ship stationary. On Sunday, April 15 at 1pm, author Barry Denenberg will read excerpts from his children's book Titanic Sinks! and take questions from kids.
100 Years Later: Little Known and New Facts About R.M.S. Titanic – the Bronx
Woodlawn Cemetery, Jerome and Bainbridge Avenues
Sunday, April 29 1-4pm
$15 for adults, $10 for students
This historic (and gorgeous) cemetery is the final resting place for Isidor Straus and other Titanic passengers. Families can take a walking tour of the grounds with historian Dr. J. Joseph Edgette and learn all about the ship's journey.
If you're looking for a Titanic-themed day trip over spring break, head to the Mystic Aquarium for the debut of Titanic–12,450 Feet Below, a multimillion dollar exhibit that's a must-see for Titanic fans. Developed in part by Dr. Robert Ballard, the oceanographer who found the undersea wreckage, the exhibition sheds light on the nature of icebergs, period boat construction and media reports from the fateful day. You can also watch exciting videos of the discovery of the long-lost ship, and kids can romp in a two-level adventure center modeled after the boat's engine room.
There are also a ton of cool Titanic events for adults, some of which may be appropriate for older teens.
You can also mark the centennial with a DIY tour of Titanic-related New York City spots.
Prominent New Yorker John Jacob Astor IV went down with the ship and you can find his family’s mausoleum at Trinity Church in lower Manhattan.
Straus Park in Morningside Heights is named for Macy's co-owner Isador Straus and his wife Ida who resided nearby. The couple famously perished together on the Titanic when Ida chose to stay on board with her husband rather than take a seat on a lifeboat. On Sunday, April 15 at 2pm, Landmark West will give a talk about the spouses and their namesake green space for $12 per person.
The Titanic was supposed to dock at Pier 59 on Manhattan’s West Side, now home to the Chelsea Piers Golf Club. Head about ten blocks down to Pier 54 and you'll find a big black archway that was once the entrance to the White Star Lines pier, the company that sailed the Titanic. If you look closely you can see traces of the words Cunard and White Star Line.
My son is begging me to take him to see the release of James Cameron’s Titanic in 3D, but I'm not sure he's old enough just yet. Personally, I am looking forward to Julian Fellowes four-part Titanic miniseries on ABC, which airs Saturday, April 14 and Sunday, April 15.
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