Boats, Boats, Boats

Elise said pretty much everything that needed to be said about Amsterdam, so I get to talk about the part she wasn’t there for: The National Maritime Museum.  After our canal cruise, we went our separate ways so Landon and I could have some boy time.
View of the museum from the ship
Kind of like the car museum, it sounded like it would be awesome for a toddler who is into all kinds of transportation, but most of the exhibits weren’t geared particularly for toddlers (especially tired ones).  There were a half-dozen or so unique exhibits ranging from Dutch maritime history to maps to maritime navigational instruments to a window into the workings of the Port of Amsterdam, and two big highlights for Landon: a whale exhibit, and a big ship.

The whale exhibit went through the whole history of human interaction with whales.  It started off with some stories of big, scary sea monsters, then went through the ups and downs of the whole whaling movement, and finally on to the obligatory PETA-esque save-the-whales pitch at the end.  Near the middle of the exhibit, there was a big whale head that we ran into.  The inside was hollow, so Landon could go inside, and, after some coaxing, he did.  He initially didn’t quite know what to think (as evidenced by the guarded, pensive fingers-in-mouth glance).  He was certifiably freaked out once I got him to finally go inside, and we saw a pulsing, glowing, beating heart that was just about as big as him.  I thought it was a neat, kind of creepy, effect.  Once we got away from the belly of the beast, though, he did quite enjoy running back and forth through the baleen strips.
Landon running toward the Amsterdam
We decided to save the best for last: the highlight of the museum is the massive ship, Amsterdam, permanently docked out back.  It’s almost as big as the museum itself.  Landon loved it, as evidenced by him running to it.  As we climbed aboard, I quickly realized that waiting to do this until last may not have been the greatest idea.  The first deck we stepped onto housed a whole bunch of canons, as well as the crew berths.  The canons were mildly entertaining, but the real highlight was the hammocks.  Landon grabbed me and said “Daddy, what’s this?” and “Daddy, lift me up!”  I obliged, and quickly realized it was naptime.
I eventually pried him out of the hammock, and we made our way to the upper decks.  The ship felt huge, even compared to the USS Orleck that we were on earlier this year that is close to three times longer than the Amsterdam, probably because of its height. We climbed up to the main deck, and then on up to the deck overlooking the prow.  Landon was pretty good at climbing the little ladders.  Then, we headed back to the helm deck, where Landon enjoyed helping another little girl steer the ship for a little while.  Immediately behind the helm were the quarters for the captain and passengers.  The beds and cabins were like something you would expect to see in a kids’ park.  The ceilings were half-height, and the beds were only four or five feet long.  I thought Landon would think it was neat to see a room his size, but the only thing he thought was neat was the bed in the captain’s cabin.  He climbed right in and closed his eyes, and I ended up carrying him most of the way back to the stroller and out of the boat.  We didn’t have time to explore the lower decks – I thought that would be pushing it a little too much.  It turns out I was right, since he was asleep just about as soon as we disembarked.

Passengers’ cabin
Captain’s cabin

I had a little time left to wander the museum after he fell asleep, so I went back through and explored the Dutch maritime history exhibit that highlighted the history of the Dutch East and West India Companies, Dutch globe production, and some other neat things.  I also explored a little more closely the navigational instruments, the model yacht collection, and the ship decorations (none of which I took pictures of, for some reason), before we left.  There was a film that I wanted to see (I think some kind of historical reenactment), but kids under 8 weren’t allowed inside, and they wouldn’t let me go in, even after Landon was asleep.  Overall, the maritime museum had a lot of interesting exhibits, with a fair mixture for different age ranges.

This glass roof covered the courtyard inside the museum
I don’t know what this even is, but Landon seemed intrigued as he posed
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