Ever wondered what life is like at sea? Where would you sleep? What would you eat?
This half term, visitors of all ages who visit the Imperial War Museum in Manchester, can delve into the true stories of men, women, and even animals who have sailed the seas.
Families can discover what life was like on the high seas, in a week of family activities at IWM North. From submarines to sea mines, you can explore the past 100 years at sea through storytelling, craft activities and objects on display. You can discover the real life stories of those who served at sea, such as Thomas Clare, a seasoned sailor who served on HMS Centurion - a huge battleship known as a super-Dreadnought.
We were invited along to try out some of the activities, prior to the half term holidays next week, and to explore the museum.
Families are invited to get creative in daily craft sessions to make a Message in a Bottle or a Scratch Art Sea Horizon. Freddy and Kezia enjoyed taking part in the craft activities. Younger visitors can take part in interactive story telling sessions and learn about the strange and surprising animals that have sailed the seas, including Olga the reindeer and Tirpitz the pig. We enjoyed the story of Wally, the merchant seaman from Manchester.
You can try out some sailor slang and learn when you should Pipe Down and when to Sling Your Hook. There are also live theatrical performances bringing to life the stories of two women who made their wartime contribution by working in the shipyards of the First and Second World Wars (on Saturday 14th and Monday 16th February).
The exhibitions in the museum are really excellent, bringing to life the realities of war and their effect on the people involved. Freddy loved looking at the plane, the tank and the fire engine exhibits. He also really enjoyed the hands on exhibits where he got to dress up as a schoolboy during WW2, try out camouflage gear, test his sense of smell with the smells from the trenches and listen to real life accounts of wartime through phone handsets. It is such a thoughtful and educational experience for children. Kezia was really interested in all the artifacts and the information about them.
If all of that activity works up an appetite, you can visit the Watershard Café and Kitchen, which has some amazing waterside views. The kids can enjoy a ration pack including a drink, a sandwich and a selection of three more items such as jelly, yogurt, fruit, a boiled egg, a cake, crisps or a biscuit. Both hot and cold meals are available alongside a selection of cakes and drinks.
If you are brave enough, you can ascend the AirShard to get a birds-eye view of what was once the busy Manchester shipping canal. It is very high and the floor is see through resulting in a nerve wracking experience if you are a little nervous of heights!
Entry is free but donations are welcome. Find out more at iwm.org.uk or connect with IWM North on facebook.com/iwm.north or on twitter @IWMNorth