Autism NI Families Enjoy A Magical Christmas Experience at Titanic Belfast
Local families, whose lives have been impacted by Autism had the chance to enjoy some festive cheer at the exclusive launch of Titanic Belfast’s Magical Christmas Experience.
Children were invited by Autism NI to Europe’s Leading Visitor Attraction to see Father Christmas arrive and launch the Magical Christmas Experience. Aware that Christmas can often be a difficult time for families impacted by Autism with the change in routine often proving disruptive and anxiety provoking, the event enabled families to celebrate the joy of the festive season together.
The families had the chance to go back in time, explore a traditional Christmas Street, enjoy festive games, dressing up, decoration making, look up their names in the naughty or nice list and meet Father Christmas in his Old Curiosity Shop.
Mingling with a host of well-known Northern Ireland faces from the world of sport and entertainment, the families were first to preview this year’s event.
Titanic Belfast’s Chief Executive, Tim Husbands MBE, commented: “Christmas is a truly magical time of year and our Experience is all about embracing festive cheer and creating unique memories. We are really pleased that by making a few adjustments, we have made our Experience Launch Night accessible to those living with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Throughout the festive season we will also have a focus trail and sensory storytelling in place within the Experience and will be hosting dedicated quiet sessions. We are really pleased to be able to spread the festive cheer and to be adding something special to the lives of these very deserving families this Christmas!”
Autism NI’s Corporate Fundraising Manager Sarah-Jayne Cassells said: “We are so grateful to Titanic Belfast for inviting our families to be involved in the Magical Christmas Experience. Christmas, with changes in routine, family visits, and the idea of Santa, can be a difficult time for those living with Autism. It is wonderful for families to come to an Autism friendly launch and be given a break from the stress of the festive season through this unique event. Titanic Belfast and Autism NI brought families together for a fun evening where they were able to relax, enjoy family time together and create lasting festive memories. To further help those living with Autism at Christmas, we have put together some helpful tips to cope with Christmas online at www.autismni.org. We are really pleased that throughout the festive season Titanic Belfast will be hosting quiet sessions and activities for those living with Autism.”
With over 30,000 individuals and families affected by Autism within Northern Ireland and over 1,400 children diagnosed per year, this is just one of the activities Titanic Belfast is undertaking to raise awareness of Autism NI as part of its Year of Access.
Titanic Belfast’s Magical Christmas Experience runs until 23 December, with quiet sessions planned for 1 December. To book, visit www.titanicbelfast.com.
'Race to the End of the Earth' at Titanic Belfast Autism Friendly Sessions
Two Legends, One Goal...Antarctica!
Travel back in time and follow in the footsteps of Norwegian Roald Amundsen and Britain’s Robert Falcon Scott as they embark on a 1,800 mile journey to be the first to reach the South Pole at Titanic Belfast's exciting Summer Exhibition ‘Race to the End of the Earth’.
This must-see exhibition, on loan from the American Museum of Natural History, will be on display for the very first time in the UK and Ireland until the 28th August, with a special Autism Friendly Session on Monday 18th July at 10am – so don’t miss your chance to see it.
Witness what life was like for the explorers 100 years ago as they tackled not only the ultimate limits of human endurance and survival in some of the harshest weather conditions in the world! Known as one of the most stirring accounts of Antarctic exploration of all time, experience the personal adventures of Scott and Amundsen through a series of interactive, multimedia experiences and life-size recreations, while discovering more about the advances made in modern day Antarctica exploration.
Would you have been up for the challenge? Inspect their primitive equipment, track their perilous journey and decide how you would have performed in one of the driest, coldest and most remote places on earth. With lots of hands on activities, inquisitive thinking and wildlife to be discovered there is lots for our ‘junior explorers’ to do too!
Described by New York Times as “five-star” and “engrossing”, this is the must-see Summer exhibition for kids, adults, explorer enthusiasts and adventurers alike!
Race to the End of the Earth is Here!
As this year’s must-see summer exhibition, ‘Race to the End of the Earth’ arrives at Titanic Belfast; the Lewis family from Newtownabbey got an exclusive preview.
Courtney Lewis and her son Taylor Lewis (8) are one of Autism NI’s families and one of the first in Northern Ireland to see the exhibition from the American Museum of Natural History, which has been described by the New York Times as “engrossing”.
Autism NI is Northern Ireland’s main Autism charity, existing to support individuals with Autism and their families and campaigning to raise awareness of Autism in the wider society. The charity supports a network of 21 local support groups across NI and provides life changing services for the 30,000 people affected by Autism here in Northern Ireland.
It is the first time the exhibition has visited the UK and Ireland and will be on display in Titanic Belfast’s Andrews Gallery, from 25th June to 28th August, is a must-see for kids, parents and explorer enthusiasts alike to learn about the most stirring account of Antarctic exploration of all time – Scott versus Amundsen.
Through a series of interactive, multimedia experiences, hands on activities and life-size recreations, the world-class exhibit explores the ‘Race to the End of the Earth’ by two teams with one goal. The Lewis family were one of the first to be brought back in time to follow in the footsteps of Norway’s Amundsen and Britain’s Scott as they embark on a 1,800-mile journey to be the first to reach the South Pole, showing what life was like for the explorers on the ice 100 years ago as they faced not only the ultimate limits of human endurance but some of the harshest weather conditions in the world, as well of the risk of starvation and frostbite.
Sarah Jayne-Cassells, Autism NI commented, “It is wonderful to be partnered up with Titanic Belfast for their Year of Access, and working with them to help create a more Autism Friendly environment for the many Autism families living in Northern Ireland. Summer is a time to get out and about and explore new things, and this fabulous exhibition the ‘Race to the End of the Earth’ gives individuals with Autism the perfect opportunity to do that right here in Belfast in an environment that they can also follow Scott and Amundsen’s footsteps.”
Chief Executive of Titanic Belfast, Tim Husbands MBE, said “We were delighted to host the Lewis family and the other Autism NI families at the launch of Race to the End of the Earth as part of our Year of Access. They were the first to try out our child-friendly path as well as the ASD focused and follow Scott and Amundsen’s footsteps and experience one of the greatest challenges of exploration at our must-see ‘Race to the End of the Earth’ exhibition. Antarctica is no longer the last place on earth – it’s right on our doorstep this summer.”
American Museum of Natural History exhibition to UK and Ireland for the first-time! Scott and Amundsen were at the forefront of the heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration, now audiences can follow in Race to the End of the Earth is organized by the American Museum of Natural History, New York (www.amnh.org), in collaboration with Musée des Confluences, Lyon, France, and Royal BC Museum, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.
Titanic Belfast’s continues to raise its profile on the national and international stage as a world-class attraction and has now welcomed approximately three million visitors. It was recently nominated alongside Buckingham Palace, La Sagrada Familia, The Eiffel Tower and The Roman Colosseum to become Europe’s Leading Visitor Attraction at the World Travel Awards. As well as included in Lonely Planet's Ultimate Travelist of 500 of the world's most striking locations, featuring everything from imposing temples to hidden gems, after only three years in operation and was named the ninth best rated museum in the UK Travellers’ Choice™ awards, announced by TripAdvisor. For more information visit www.titanicbelfast.com
Titanic Belfast Wears It Blue to Kick-Start its Year of Access
Titanic Belfast has kick-started its Year of Access, which aims to highlight the issue of disability access in its many forms and encourage industry improvements when dealing with disabled travellers, with Autism NI’s ‘Wear It Blue’ Day.
With one in five potential customers in the UK having a disability, Titanic Belfast, as one of Britain’s 20 “most accessible attractions” named by tourist boards in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland has decided to champion the cause and launch a Year of Access. Each month, it aims to focus on a different disability and ensure Titanic Belfast’s services and facilities develop to meet the needs and expectations of its guests.
The world’s largest Titanic visitor experience is starting of the year by supporting Autism NI’s ‘Wear It Blue’ Day. The team will be one of the first in Northern Ireland to take part in the Autism Impact Award Champion Programme to further ensure it is an Autism friendly provider, as well as supporting the charity throughout the year.
The world-class visitor attraction has already been listed by SAGA and the Rough Guide to Accessibility Britain as one of the most accessible attractions in the UK, joining other prominent attractions, including London Zoo, Tower Bridge, Royal Yacht Britannia, Edinburgh Castle and Cadbury World on these prestigious lists. It was noted for its fully accessible galleries, integrated hearing loops, free carer entrance and contrasting floor surfaces for visually impaired.
Titanic Belfast’s Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Operations, Judith Owens, commented, “At Titanic Belfast, we are very proud to be consistently recognised as industry leaders on a local, national and international level for our accessibility standards. As recognised ambassadors, we have designated 2016/17 as our Year of Access. Each month, we aim to look at different disabilities and ensure that we are fully accessible for all our differing customers’ needs.”
“With over 11 million people with a disability in Britain, we hope our Year of Access will help us to further develop our five-star customer service by ensuring that all our visitors’ access requirements are not only fully met but exceeded. We also hope that our example will inspire the tourism industry locally, nationally and internationally to do more to better cater for disabled travellers.”
Titanic Belfast’s continues to raise its profile on the national and international stage as a world-class attraction and has now welcomed over 2.7 million visitors. It was also recently included in Lonely Planet's Ultimate Travelist of 500 of the world's most striking locations, featuring everything from imposing temples to hidden gems, after only three years in operation and was named the ninth best rated museum in the UK Travellers’ Choice™ awards, announced by TripAdvisor. For more information, visit www.titanicbelfast.com.