My only educational goal for Labor Day Weekend was to take the kids to Mystic Seaport. It’s a hefty price for a family of five but it turned out to be well worth it as I had hoped. We had great weather and arrived early ahead of the crowds which even in the early afternoon was not terribly crowded.
Our day began on The Charles W. Morgan Whaling Ship pictured above. As far as I know it’s the last of it’s kind. That’s probably why they charge the lofty admission. The maintenance on these old ships must be astronomical. We toured inside and the kids were able to see the living conditions of a nineteenth century whaler as well as learning about whaling and the processing of whale blubber and it’s uses. I learned that people were much shorter back then having bumped my head on the numerous stringers belowdecks on The Morgan. I was feeling tall but achy at the same time.
Mystic Seaport is more than just old ships. There’s a whole village assembled along the waterfront with ship chandleries, barrel makers, pharmacies, schools and churches. The buildings have been restored and transported here from other places. We got to see how people lived and how day to day chores were much harder.
We were able to talk to many employees and role players in the shops who were able to show us some of the tools and equipment needed in those times. Particularly interesting was the fact that ships brought disassembled barrels on board to save space. A cooper was on every ship to reassemble the barrels to store blubber (probably taking the space of depleted food stores).
The kids were even able to build their own wooden boats. It may just seem like just arts and crafts but they learned about the many parts of a ship by building one for themselves. We spent about an hour building masts, bowsprits and anchors before we went for ice cream. I’m happy to report that we escaped without a single hot glue gun burn.
We also visited a discovery zone in which we learned about sail and wind forces, hull shapes and simple machines (blocks and tackle mainly). We spent probably about four to five hours at Mystic Seaport and it was the highlight of our weekend. I highly recommend it for early grade schoolers- one of the better museums we’ve been to.
Please check out the video below for more on Mystic Seaport and stay tuned as we head out in search of crabs and horrors next trip. Thanks for stopping by.