In a nod to maritime tradition, Miami Children’s Museum and Carnival Cruise Lines today uncorked a confetti-filled bottle to launch a redesigned cruise ship–shaped exhibit where kids can sail on a sea of discovery and learn the secrets behind one of South Florida’s leading industries.

The two-level 1,850-square-foot exhibit – the country’s only cruise-themed children’s museum attraction – has been completely renovated and now offers a host of new hands-on, interactive activities that promise oceans of fun while educating kids about seagoing travel and maritime careers.   

New features on the exhibit’s first level include Puppet Ship Theater, where kids can learn about different maritime careers while putting on a puppet show with a cast of miniature captains, engineers, chefs and other shipboard personnel.  Young visitors also have their moment in the spotlight dressing up and performing as Carnival entertainers with dazzling, sequin-festooned costumes.

A new “What You Can Do On A Cruise” activity includes spinning and matching games that teach kids about the variety of fun on-board happenings as well as sights they might see along the way.  Positioned in the “bow” of the ship-shaped exhibit is a cozy seating area where kids and parents can read a book or enjoy a quiet activity.   Also located throughout the first level are hands-on tabletop activities and games, interactive wall bubbles and “fun facts” about the Carnival vacation experience and what shipboard life is like.

The exhibit’s second level, which replicates the equipment and technology found on a cruise ship bridge, is just as engaging.  Here, children can plot a course in the Caribbean with authentic maps and charts, and listen to actual recordings of officers, harbor pilots and quartermasters as they bring a vessel into port.

Kids can also see “how low can they go” with a fun limbo exercise, create their own Calypso music with bongos and steel drums that are typically associated with a “fun in the sun” Caribbean cruise or learn about shipbuilding through fun, interactive puzzles. Appropriately, the second level bridge overlooks an adjacent exhibit which replicates the Port of Miami.

Carnival partnered with Atlanta-based Purpose Studios to completely renovate, redesign and re-engineer the exhibit to offer a more nautical feel with teak-like flooring, ship railings, portholes and other design elements.  The renovation also includes dramatic lighting effects and a colorful mural that re-creates the vantage point of a cruise ship on the ocean, depicting a sea of aqua-blue waters and a Carnival ship on the horizon.

Carnival’s exhibit debuted in conjunction with the Miami Children’s Museum’s Watson Island grand opening in 2003 and over the past seven years thousands of kids have learned about cruising and maritime careers interacting with the ship-shaped attraction.

“This exhibit embodies the museum’s mission of making learning fun by allowing kids to immerse themselves in the world of cruising and discover the important role the maritime industry plays here in South Florida,” said Jim Berra, Carnival’s chief marketing officer. “And on a personal note, the Miami Children’s Museum is one of my family’s favorite places to beat the heat during the summer.”

“From the beginning, Carnival has been a valuable partner with the Museum, providing a quality exhibit where children and families can play, learn, imagine and create,” said Deborah Spiegelman, the museum’s executive director.  “These fantastic new enhancements to the exhibit continue to provide a first class experience for everyone.  I don’t know of any other museum that can boast about having its own cruise ship inside.”

The updated Carnival exhibit is one of 14 fun-filled galleries at the Miami Children’s Museum, located at 980 MacArthur Causeway on Watson Island in Miami.  Entrance to the exhibit is included with each regular admission to the museum. Admission is $15 for adults and children, $12 for Florida residents, free for children under 1 year old and admission for museum members is complimentary. For more information contact the Museum at 305/373-KIDS (5437) or visit


About Miami Children’s Museum

Founded in 1983, Miami Children’s Museum is dedicated to enriching the lives of all children by fostering a love of learning and enabling children to reach their highest potential. Visitors of all ages are encouraged to play together, learn, imagine and create. The 56,500-square-foot facility includes 14 galleries, classrooms and a 200-seat auditorium. The museum offers hundreds of bilingual, interactive exhibits; programs and classes, including special needs classes; Subway restaurant; KidSmart educational gift shop and learning materials related to arts, culture, community and communication. To learn more about the museum, please visit the website: Miami Children’s Museum receives both private and public funding. MCM is sponsored in part by the City of Miami, the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, the Cultural Affairs Council, the Mayor and the Miami-Dade County Board of County Commissioners.

About Carnival Cruise Lines  

Carnival is the most popular cruise line in the world, with 22 “Fun Ships” operating voyages ranging from three to 16 days in length to The Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexican Riviera, Alaska, Hawaii, Canada, New England, Europe, and Bermuda.  The line currently has two new 130,000-ton ships on order – Carnival Magic, set to debut from Europe May 1, 2011, and Carnival Breeze, scheduled to enter service in spring 2012. For additional information and reservations on the “Fun Ship” vacation experience, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit Carnival also can be found on Twitter:; Facebook Fan Page:; and Flickr:  Journalists also can visit Carnival’s media site,