Grand Rapids Public Museum.
We are finally done with our official school year! That doesn’t mean that we are done learning for the summer though! Some of the trips that I hoped to do during the year are now happening since we’re done with the regular schedule.
Last week, our family had the awesome experience of a trip to the Grand Rapids Public Museum! All of us enjoyed and learned together in their beautiful building located in downtown Grand Rapids.
The highlight of our trip was Titanic: The Artifact Exhibit that will be open until July 7, 2013. The entire exhibit is absolutely breathtaking! We all learned facts we didn’t know and loved seeing the items up close and personal.
Upon arriving at the exhibit, we were each given a boarding pass with a passenger name and information on the back. At the end, you can check the roster to find out if your passenger survived.
One of our favorite spots was the iceberg wall. The temperature of the iceberg is 32 degrees — four degrees warmer than the water was the night of the sinking!
Some of the items I found most fascinating were the items gathered from the wreckage which were still fully intact. Postcards, money, even a champagne bottle! In the picture above, the far right bottle is still filled with champagne. Since it’s pressurized, it didn’t burst when the ship sank.
The pictures and artwork were amazing to view in person. They have collections of items recovered at the ship wreck site, as well as some recreations of period items. We were amazed to see the tools and this porthole, pictured above.
There are also two room recreations. One is a first class bedroom and the second includes a view into a third class hallway and bedroom, which is shown above. It was also fascinating to see the tableware and menus that were served the day of the sinking. It made everything that much more real to see it in person!
After visiting Titanic, we enjoyed a snack in the cafe.
Next, we visited the rest of the museum. They have so many incredible things to see! It is often hard for us to find something that can appeal to all of us since the boys have an age gap between them. The museum truly offered something for each of them. There were things to see and learn in every room and it kept all the boys entertained.
We enjoyed touring the old Grand Rapids city tour. Checking out the old fashioned shops and seeing what life would be like 100 years ago was interesting for all of us. At certain times, there are volunteers that come and operate the shops and give you some fun tidbits! We enjoyed talking to Miss Bea in the clothing store and learning about old fashioned toys while we were there!
They also have the Great Lakes Shipwreck exhibit right now. Jorryn especially loved this piece which showed a ship floating on the water and then showed what it looked like underneath the water. They also had an interactive game that Jorryn enjoyed. It helped make the more somber topic easier to learn and discuss.
Jorryn talked for days before and after our visit about the whale skeleton on the ceiling! Isn’t this neat?!
They also have a great feature on the role Michigan played in the Civil War. Jorryn and Zane enjoyed pretending in the army camp and learning to play the drums like real drummer boys. Jorryn also did an impressive job reading from an old army journal. One of my favorite features of this room was the molds of Lincoln’s hands on his inauguration day!
Part of the Berlin Wall is also housed in the museum.
Jorryn, Zane, and I finished the day with a ride on the Spillman Carousel. Each animal is absolutely beautiful! It’s been restored and was originally built in 1928. We each picked a horse and were off for a nice ride overlooking the river!
If you are looking for a place to visit with your family this summer, I highly recommend checking out the Grand Rapids Public Museum. Your entire family will have a great time learning and discussing the exhibits! You can also visit their Roger B. Chaffee Planetarium while you’re there. They offer seasonal sky shows and special productions throughout the year! Tickets are an additional $3 – $7 and are free for museum members. They have two great shows running from now until July 7 that you’ll want to check out while you’re visiting!
The museum is located at 272 Pearl Street NW in Grand Rapids. They are open at 9am daily except for Sundays when they open at noon. They close at 5pm everyday except Tuesday when they close at 9pm. You can visit them online or find them on Facebook and Twitter.
You can find ticket prices here. Members receive a $5 discount off their Titanic tickets as well!
You’ll also want to plan a trip in the fall when they will have a new feature on dinosaurs! I know this will be a must do trip for our boys since they all love dinosaurs!
Grand Rapids Public Museum.