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Instead of the Dishes » Mommyhood » Setting Sail on the Titanic in Branson (review)

Setting Sail on the Titanic in Branson (review)

Last weekend my family and I headed down to Branson to take advantage of the special area appreciation rates that the Titanic Museum in Branson was offering.  However, we ended up visiting at no charge because I am writing this post about our visit.  Aside from our free admission, I did not receive any compensation or special treatment while at the museum.  All opinions contained herein belong solely to myself and my family.

Titanic ExteriorThe Titanic Museum in Branson is one of the more noticeable attractions along strip.  It’s hard to miss a large steamship, flanked by an iceberg, that appears to be plowing through the water and straight toward the traffic on highway 76.  Even though we live nearby, we had never visited until last weekend.  Everyone that I had talked to about the museum had good things to say and I had read a several good reviews online as well.  However, I was a little concerned that it would not be engaging enough for our 5 and 7 year old kiddos.

kids in front of the iceberg at Titanic Museum BransonBefore we visited, we checked out a few children’s books about the Titanic from the local library to help give the kids an idea of what the Titanic Museum was about. (I’ll go more into detail on the books at the end of this post.) So, by the time we arrived in the parking lot, the kids understood the basic story of the Titanic. They scurried over to have their picture taken in front of the iceberg, which was much larger that it appears from the street.  No picture taking is allowed inside the museum due to copyright laws, so all interior pictures in the post are taken from the media section of the Titanic Museum’s website.


titanic museum lifeboats


Once we got inside, we were greeted by staff dressed in costume to match what the ship’s crew wore.  This caught the kids’ attention.  We were also given handheld audio tour guides that went around our necks. The kids thought they were TV remotes. Near the lobby there is a wall of ice that visitors can touch to get an idea of what the iceberg felt like, and then the formal tour begins with an 18 foot long model of the ship. I was impressed here when I asked my five year old son if he wanted me to pick him up so he could see onto the decks of the model ship.  “I CAN see,” he said, pointing to the mirror placed above the model that allowed for an aerial view.


The galleries covered everything from the ship’s construction, to life on board for passengers and crew, stories of the survivor’s lives after the event, and the exploration of the undersea wreckage.

Early on we got to see the Titanic’s mascots, two spaniels named Molly and Carter, who represent two of the dogs that traveled on the Titanic. There were facts about the dogs who were on the ship sprinkled throughout the museum, and the kids enjoyed finding them and reading them.  There were also separate panels throughout that had multiple choice trivia questions on them.  I think they were for the kids, but I really liked them too. (Did you know that there were only 23 women employed on the Titanic?)

Titanic trivia panel with molly the spaniel

Additional interactive activities for the kids including shoveling coal into the ship’s furnace, trying to stand on the deck while tilted at different angles that represent the stages of the Titanic sinking, dipping your hands into water that is as cold as the water was the night the Titanic sank, and “steering” the ship from the captain’s bridge.

Titanic Deck Tilt

Technology for the Kids

Both of my children said that their favorite part of the museum was the audio tour handsets.  They had no problem operating the handsets on their own.  Finding the signs with the number to dial in for the next part of the audio tour was like a scavenger hunt for them.  There are two different audio tours, one for kids and one for adults.  I listened to a little of each and enjoyed both.  I did notice there are a few places where the audio tour has not been updated to match what is actually on display in the museum, but for the most part the inconsistencies were minor. Overall, both of my kids stayed engaged throughout our visit, and it was a great educational experience for them.

Mom’s View

From my own perspective, I really enjoyed all the personal stories that are told as you move through the different rooms and exhibits. Each person that enters the museum is give a “character card” with the name, age, hometown, and brief background information of an actual Titanic passenger. This is your alter ego while on board, and you are likely to find a photograph or reference to yourself somewhere in the galleries. At the end, you can view the memorial wall to see if you survived the tragedy or were claimed by the icy waters. There is also a gallery that specifically tells the stories of the children who sailed on the Titanic. I also was impressed with the artifacts from the Titanic that were on display, such as one of the musician’s violins. There were also authentic life vests, a deck chair, letters and postcards, and much more. Personally, I could have spent hours in the museum reading and looking at photographs and artifacts.

Hartley Violin artifact from the Titanic

Dad’s Thoughts

Craig enjoyed the technical details about the ship as well as the immersive quality in many of the galleries.  Unlike most museums, the spaces aboard the Titanic Museum are small and catacomb-ish, much like you would expect to find on a cruise liner.  Many of the galleries are designed to feel like a particular space on the ship. For example, when you are looking into and example of a 3rd class stateroom, you are standing in a hallway that looks an feels like a hallway on a ship. So, be sure to stop reading and looking at artifacts long enough to really take in your surroundings and let yourself be transported back in time and out to sea.

The Captain's Bridge on the Titanic

With children, you can expect to spend one and a half to two hours exploring the Titanic Museum.  If you’re kid free and you like to look at photos and artifacts and read about history, you could probably make a whole day of it.  I know I would love to go back for another visit!

Children’s Books About the Titanic

As I mentioned, we borrowed a few books from the library before our trip. You can find Titanic books at your library at the call number 910.9163.  It was interesting to see how this material was presented to children in each book. Three of the books were appropriate for both our kindergartener and 2nd grader, with lots of pictures and short descriptions:

  • Titanic: Disaster at Sea BookTitanic: Disaster at Sea by Phillip Wilkinson. – this one was our favorite, with a nice mix of vibrant illustrations and interesting facts.
  • Titanic by Melissa Stewart – part of the National Geographic Kids series, has a reading level of 3
  • The Kids’ Guide to Titanic by Sean Stewart Price – has a little more text, but still enough images to keep non-readers engaged.

The remaining three books were more text heavy and probably are a better fit for more advanced readers:

  • Children of the Titanic by Christine Welldon
  • Iceberg Right Ahead! The Tragedy of the Titanic
  • The Titanic Lost…and Found by Judy Donnelly

Disclosure: I was given four free admission passes in exchange for writing this blog post (even though we were planning on visiting the museum and writing a post about it anyway). I was not compensated monetarily. All opinions belong to myself and my family members.

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