Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Nauticus and the Battleship Wisconsin

On our third day in VA Beach we decided to do something "touristy." With our ASCT affiliation we had a few choices to pick from: Children's Museum of Virginia, Science Museum of Virginia, Virginia Discovery Museum, Virginia Living Museum, to name some. Distance and originality were the two determining factors that day so we decided on Nauticus and the Battleship Wisconsin.

One Waterside Drive in Norfolk was a mere twenty five minute drive from the hotel. It was another sunny and warm winter day so we left our coats in the room. After enjoying our complimentary breakfast at the hotel and dealing with one minor meltdown it was time to head out. Our plan was to arrive as the museum opened and head back in time for lunch. We arrived shortly before they opened and stayed way longer than our originally planned ninety minutes. As a matter of fact, had the kids not gotten hungry we would have stayed well past our third hour.

After purchasing your tickets, or in our case getting free admittance, you rode rode a rolling carpet up to the start of the exhibit, on the third floor. You went through a tunnel designed to make you feel like you are travelling under the sea. Then, the kids commence their fun.

After getting into a tug boat and sailing the miniature sea, JR and Yousef got into the command room.

They played with coals, 

recruited navy officers, 

helped clean the bottom of the ocean,

and watched an IMAX 3-D movie about coral reefs. The movie itself was breathtaking with life like images of creatures unseen ever before by us. When Yousef got tired of the dark it was time to leave the movie although more remained to be seen. 

There were what Yousef thought were trains: "choo-choo," he kept saying and I wondered what he was referring to since we couldn't be further away from trains at this time in our lives! 

There was the battle-ship size kitchen equipment, 

And the creatures of the sea,

Jannah-Rae got to touch a hermit crab, which pinched her,

and would have been able to feel a benthic shark native to Australia had her arm been a little longer. Although disappointed at the missed opportunity, JR nonetheless delighted in the mention of Australia proceeding to tell the biologist about her Khalto (maternal aunt) Dania who lives there. 

After navigating the many rooms, we headed outside to the Battleship Wisconsin. It was like stepping onto a giant. To say that ship was a humongous is a doing it a disservice. Impressive is a better word.  

We walked up and down the decks peering into windows,

surveying our surroundings,

 and reading posted signs.

We ended our trip that day with a quick pass through the Naval Museum where uniforms, torpedoes and naval mines were on display.

The museum was certainly kid friendly with lots of hands-on displays and play areas. The kids had a blast walking and exploring and we enjoyed being able to immerse in exhibits without crowds floating all around. Soon it was time to leave. Checking my watch, we had been there two and a half hours and we could have certainly stayed much longer. I remember balking at the suggestion of the receptionist to allow four hours to tour it but now clearly understand why. We plan on visiting again the next time we are in Virginia Beach.

You can read about Day 1 and Day 2 of our trip here and here.

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