Today was our last full day in Nova Scotia. I had planned to do one more day, but realized we needed some down time from going non stop for 3 weeks so we cut Nova Scotia back by a day and made plans to retreat to Maine for a few days. After packing up our campsite, we headed back into Halifax for the day to visit the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. First of all, we LOVED the museum. So much to see and do. However, parking is horrendous in Halifax. If you visit here, be prepared to park far away and be prepared to walk hills as the museum is on the waterfront, and this part of the city is on a steep hill. Also be prepared to pay at least almost $20 for a parking garage if you plan to make a day of it. Parking starts at around $2 per half hour. Some garages cap the cost, but others don’t. That said, the museum is definitely worth seeing.
My original plan was to go to the Discovery Center, which is a hands on science museum and it looked amazing from their website, but a friend told us about this museum and one of the main reasons we came here was to see the Titanic exhibit. The museum is self guided, but you can also do a half hour guided tour free of charge if you happen to get in at the right time. I’m not sure what those times are, but we lucked out by paying the admission right as a guided tour was starting. The young woman who led the tour was amazing! She had a great way of storytelling and really made you feel like you could see both the Titanic and the Halifax Explosion happening. Most tours that I’ve been on have been incredible in that they share history and facts, but having a storyteller lead you from one exhibit to the next and really draw you in is an added bonus.
Zach was intrigued by the models of the ships placed throughout the museum. Some of the cruise ship models were HUGE! He was especially fascinated by the cross section of one of the models so that he could see what was inside of it.
Because Halifax was the closest major port to the sinking of the Titanic, recovered bodies and some artifacts were brought to the port. Some of these artifacts were on display at the museum. These included parts of items recovered from the water, a chest, shoes from the small child’s body that was recovered, and items that sailors made out of the wood that was taken from the water (called “Wreckwood”). Sailors would collect wooden pieces off of shipwrecks and then create practical or decorative items from them. The pieces in the museum consisted of picture frames, rolling pins, cutting boards and more.
Tucked into a corner, off to the side of the iconic picture of the balustrade of the Titanic, was the last known picture of Captain Smith. Father Francis Browne took the picture as the ship unloaded freight and passengers at a stop in Queenstown and then disembarked himself. The ship left shortly after and we all know the fate of the Titanic. Francis Browne’s photo has become legendary, though most people don’t know about it.
While at the museum, Zach got to see a lighthouse lamp and bulb (they are MASSIVE), we saw full size ships, and looked at artifacts in the sail room, including ships in a bottle and a sailor’s Valentine, which is made entirely out of shells.
There were also a couple of 360 degree movies in a dome that were part of the admission price of the museum. We watched the movie about the whales and Zach had never been in a dome theater before. I was surprised that he was willing to put head phones on as he usually doesn’t like anything on his ears, but he did really well and enjoyed the story. When the movie first came on and the screen was lit up all around the dome, he said, “WHHHHHOOOOOAAAA!”
We also spent some time looking over the dock and into the water (something he enjoys doing at every dock because he likes to imagine how deep it is and what’s lurking under the water), and then headed off to go back over the bridge and make our way to Amherst Shore, which was another 125 miles. Along the way, we found a nice park to have a picnic lunch in and I’ve decided that when I get home, I’m going to be doing more of these because I’ve come to really enjoy them.