The exhibition starts with the Sorting Hat - 3 volunteers found out which house they belonged to, Gryffindor (2) and Hufflepuff. No-one for Ravenclaw or Slytherin. I really wanted them to sort the kid behind me into Slytherin.
This is followed by a montage of the Harry Potter films on 8 screens. I didn't know where to look. It was funny to see scenes from the Philosophers Stone, the cast look so young. A train whistle blew, the wall to the right rose, and there on platform 9 and 1/2 was the Hogwarts Express.
Rather than just room after room of movie props, the layout is set up so you feel like a student experiencing Hogwarts and the wizarding world for the first time. Photos inside the exhibit were not allowed, so most of this is from memory, and probably out of order. (all photos inside the exhibit are from the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago)
Heading inside Hogwarts, portraits, some still, some moving covered the walls including the fat lady from Gryffindor. She invited us to stop and listen to her sing.
The first stop is inside the Gryffindor Common Room and Harry and Ron's Dorm Room.
We wandered through the various Hogwart's classrooms:
- Professor Umbridge's very pink office with all those hideous kitten plates. It looks like a bottle of pepto-bismol exploded.
- Many, many photos of Professor Lockhart. Don't forget the portrait of Lockhart painting a portrait of himself.
- Jars and vials of stuff (I don't want to know what) in the potions classroom
- You could hear the boggarts trapped in Professor Lupin's closet
Heading outside we got to pull screaching mandrakes from pots of dirt. The screaming hurt my ears.
Onto the Quidditch Pitch - souvenirs from the world cup, robes worn by Harry Potter, Ginny Weasley, Draco Malfoy, Victor Krum, Cedric Diggory and Oliver Wood. Wwe got to try our hand at throwing a quaffle through 3 quidditch goals. I scored every time, even when Andrea made me do it again one handed.
Hagrid's Hut - outside is Buckbeak the Hippogriff with hundreds of handpainted feathers. Inside on the table is the dragon egg, starting to crack and wiggling all over the table.
The Forbidden Forest - don't be frightened by the giant acromantula.
After the forest is an area devoted to the Dark Arts. Dementors float overhead, walk quickly past the statue of the Angel of Death from the Goblet of Fire, chess pieces from the Philosopher's Stone (the rook is like 8 feet tall), and a costume worn by Helena Bonham Carter as Bellatrix in Deathly Hallows Part 1.
As you approach the Great Hall you'll see Professor Umbridge's never ending Educational Decrees and a wanted poster for Harry Potter (also from Deathly Hallows).
The tour of finishes with a banquet in The Great Hall complete with floating candles, Dumbledore's robes, a buffet of desserts and a selection of treats from Weasley's Wizard Wheezes.
Some of my favourite items - a book of Do It Yourself Broomcare, Ron's howler and the sweater from his mum, Harry's acceptance letter, the sign in list for Dumbledore's Army, The big black dog in Harry's teacup in the Divination classroom, Hermione's pink ball gown, sitting in Hagrid's chair, school uniforms from the first two movies - they were tiny!
The Pacific Science Centre has it's own list of 20 must sees. You can read it here.
Of course the exhibition spits you out into a shop. Even here the theming continues. It is set up to resemble Diagon Alley. Should you be so inclined you could buy all sorts of memorabilia. Your own Marauder's Map, Monster Book of Monsters, any number of wands, Hermione's Time Turner Necklace and the earrings she wore to the ball. And just in case you can't get to the exhibition you can shop online at Warner Bros or the Noble Collection.
If you live locally and would like to go:
October 23, 2010 – January 30, 2011
Tickets are “timed-entry.” You can buy tickets online at Pacific Science Center website, by phone206-443-2001 or at the door. I wouldn't recommend the at the door thingy, they sell out really quickly as we discovered.
Seniors (65 and up) and Youth (6-15): $24
Children (3-5): $17
All tickets include admission to the entire Science Center. There is an option for an evening entry, which is only for the Harry Potter Exhibition and does not include general entry to the Science Center. There's also a combination entry which includes a Harry Potter IMAX movie. Deathly Hallows opens on Friday and the IMAX movie is sold out for the whole weekend.