NEW YORK — A hundred years ago, the sinking of the Titanic was a tragic disaster. Today, it’s fodder for an entertaining outing with the kids.
There are replica ships in Tennessee and Missouri, graveyard tours in New York and Nova Scotia, travelling exhibits from Las Vegas to Atlanta, and two brand new museums in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and Southampton, England. Hotels and restaurants are serving Titanic dinners, and ships are even heading to the disaster site — including an anniversary cruise that slashed prices last-minute from nearly $5,000 to $1,000. Here’s a roundup of notable Titanic events and attractions here and abroad.
TITANIC BELFAST: Titanic Belfast, an interactive attraction that tells the story of the doomed ship, opens March 31 in an ultra-modern building whose shape and silvery colour evoke ship hulls on the water. Exhibits include 3-D projections, audiovisual displays, artifacts and even an indoor ride. A marine exploration centre describes the work of Robert Ballard, who discovered the wreck of the Titanic on the ocean floor in 1985. Titanic walking tours and other attractions are also located in the new neighbourhood, Titanic Quarter, that includes the defunct shipyard where the ocean liner was built, http://www.titanicbelfast.com/.
SEACITY MUSEUM: SeaCity Museum opens April 10 in Southampton, England, the same day the ship departed from that port a century ago. The city lost 549 locals when the ship went down, mostly crew members. Southampton is about 90 minutes from London by train, http://www.seacitymuseum.co.uk/.
CHERBOURG, FRANCE: The Titanic stopped in Cherbourg on April 10, a few hours after leaving Southampton, to pick up 281 passengers, including American Margaret Brown, whose ordeal as a lifeboat survivor was made into a movie, The Unsinkable Molly Brown. Cherbourg is in Normandy, about 225 miles northwest of Paris.
HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA: Ships dispatched from Halifax, Nova Scotia, recovered more than 330 bodies from the disaster site in the North Atlantic, and 150 are buried in three Halifax graveyards, including 121 at Fairview Lawn Cemetery. The city’s Maritime Museum of the Atlantic is also home to an extensive permanent Titanic exhibit as well as special exhibits that will continue into the summer. Other events include ceremonies, tours, book talks, a concert, dinner theatre, a photo exhibit, and even a Titanic toy model workshop, http://www.destinationhalifax.com/visitors/titanicevents.
ELSEWHERE: Considering that the ship sank to the bottom of the ocean 100 years ago, it’s remarkable how many Titanic artifacts (and replicas of artifacts) are on display in what seems like every corner of America. There’s a Titanic Historical Society museum in Indian Orchard, Mass.; a “Titanic — 12,450 Feet Below” show at Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, Conn., opening April 12; and Titanic: 100 Year Obsession opening at the National Geographic Museum in Washington, D.C., March 29, highlighting dives to the wreck site by Ballard and Cameron. http://events.nationalgeographic.com/events/exhibits/2012/03/29/tita nic/.
If you can’t make it to Belfast, Southampton, or even Halifax,, don’t worry. Your chance to take part in the anniversary is coming to a theatre near you with the April 4 re-release of Cameron’s movie, now in 3-D.