When I was invited to attend a preview of Voyage to the Deep, an interactive children's' exhibition based on a fantasy submarine world at the National Maritime Museum I was a little bit excited......OK I was really excited.
I love activities with my two little munchkins but I love it even more when I know that they are going to be learning at the same time as having a heap of fun. Best of all it was in a fully interactive environment where role playing was a must!
Using the classic Jules Verne's novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea written almost 150 years ago depicting the tale of Captain Nemo and his submarine Nautilus, Voyage of the Deep has created a fantastical underwater world where adventure and discovery go hand in hand.
Using the fantasy of the novel with real submarines and modern deep-sea research, kids (and adults alike) are in for a real treat as they discover what it is really like to live and work under the deep blue sea.
On arrival we were shown into the exhibition where we entered into a deep under sea world complete with a fully interactive deep-sea replica steampunk submarine. We were in for the ultimate underwater adventure and we didn't even have to get wet!
Whilst discovering the mysteries of the deep I had real trouble pulling my children away from the fully interactive screen at the helm of the wheel of the steampunk submarine as they laughed and giggled diving us deeper and deeper into the murky waters trying to avoid any collisions with the creatures that lurk beneath. There imaginations were working overtime and they had everything they needed to bring their role play to life.
I was given the title of designated first mate (captain 1 and captain 2 were already taken!) and had the duty of peering up the periscopes to make sure the giant squid was not chasing us and calling out "ahoy there" on demand.
As we made our way down the submarine we took an interactive quiz listening to various under water noises and discovering what animal or machine would make such a noise before moving on to the underwater organ. Boy was this a winner with my 2 year old! I really need one of those in my house.
It was time for discovery as we searched the nearby sunken shipwreck for treasures and discussed how we could make a treasure map with "X" marks the spot when we got home.
Back onto the submarine and it appeared my fellow shipmates were a bit tired after all this hard work and it was time to take a nap in the sailors' quarters. Too bad there was no room for mum! Obviously feeling refreshed my girls took a slide down the submarine's squid tentacle slippery dip before heading to the kelp forest where we searched for signs of sea life.
We finished our adventure with a relaxing boat row in the octopus' garden where my five year old declared "I wish I had a submarine".
You can also discover ghost nets, aquanauts and marine snow. See the school of jellyfish made from fishing line, feel the weight of deep-sea diving boots and decide whether you could live and work under water.
Voyage to the Deep at the National Maritime Museum is located in Darling Harbour and is on NOW until 27 April 2015.< This was a great day out for the whole family where interactive play is a major contributor to a full day of fun sparking curiosity and imagination. It opened up so many lines of conversations between my girls and they were so busy playing they didn't even realise they were learning at the same time.
Aimed at children 12 and under, Voyage to the Deep encourages learning through interaction. If you are after a hands-on experience with opportunities for your children to touch, explore and play then this is for you. There is even a special guide for grown ups!
Whilst you are there check out the new Mini Mariners Play area, an interactive gallery space for children 0-5 years. Let your little ones take an imaginative journey from the sandy seashore to under the sea with themed free play games, activities and displays especially designed to stimulate your child's growing min and inspire their curiosity. This is free with your museum entry.
The Australian Maritime Museum also has a real submarine, HMAS Onslow, located just outside the main entrance. You can check it out with your Big Ticket (family pass $70). Please note the submarine closes at 4pm daily.
And with handy facilities like a takeaway kiosk, cafe, picnic benches and harbour-side wharf area, the Australian National Maritime Museum is hard to beat for summer fun with the kids.
Voyage to the Deep is on NOW until 27 April 2015 and runs from 9.30am to 5.00pm daily. (extended to 6pm in January)