Take a Trip Down the Yellow Brick Road to Meet the Wizard of Oz at the National Museum of Play

Saturday, January 21, 2012, the National Museum of Play at The Strong in Rochester, NY opens a new interactive exhibit based on the film “The Wizard of Oz.”  Yesterday, I had a sneak peek over the rainbow, and found a colorful, fun display containing movie memorabilia the adults will appreciate as well as plenty of spaces for kids to play and immerse themselves in the imaginative Land of Oz.  The Wizard of Oz remains on view at the National Museum of Play through May 13, 2012.  Continue after the break for more details on the new exhibit.

L-R: Toto (Terry), Dorothy (Judy Garland), and Glinda (Billie Burke) from "The Wizard of Oz" TM & © Turner Entertainment Co. (s12)

After passing through a bedazzled movie marquee, guests stroll through kid-sized recreations of scenes from the iconic movie.  Beginning with the Gale Farm, children can gather eggs from chickens, milk a cow, and identify animal noises before discovering the mysterious optical illusions of Professor Marvel’s Wagon and pedaling Miss Gulch’s bicycle.  Dorothy’s bedroom spins and spins as the cyclone transports visitors to Munchkinland.

Once in Oz, you can laugh as you hear your voice as a Munchkin, construct a rainbow out of foam blocks, follow the Yellow Brick Road to meet the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion all while playing mind games, puzzles to find heart, and search for your courage through a spooky tunnel.

(L-R) Scarecrow (Ray Bolger), Tin Man (Jack Haley), Dorothy (Judy Garland), and the Cowardly Lion (Bert Lahr) from "The Wizard of Oz" TM & © Turner Entertainment Co. (s12)

At the Witch’s Castle guests climb a rock wall and scramble through a net to steal the broom from the Wicked Witch of the West and her Winged Monkeys.  Next, visitors arrive at the Emerald City to play with light and color – create a “Horse of a Different Color” by manipulating red, green, and blue lights to see how many color combinations you can make.  Finally it’s time for your audience with the “Great and Glorious Oz.”  At the Wizard of Oz Console, you can talk into the speaker and hear your voice transformed by a voice synthesizer, create flickering color flames, and remind others to “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.”  Or, if you’re a Dad like me, remind your daughter to clean her room – “The Great and Powerful Oz commands you to Clean YOur ROOM! or there will be no television!”

Gatekeeper (Frank Morgan) for the Emerald City in The Wizard of Oz TM & © Turner Entertainment Co. (s12)

This traveling exhibit is the first ever officially licensed educational museum display to use elements from the incredibly popular, Academy Award winning film such as Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers.  Many of the classic movie scenes as well as the characters from the film are included in the exhibition.  The Wizard of Oz exhibit can be seen at the National Museum of Play through May 13, 2012, is free to museum members, and included with general museum admission fees for nonmembers.  During the opening weekend festivities on Saturday, January 21 and Sunday, January 22, Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion, will present an interactive theater experience where families can sing and dance along to songs and music from the film.

(L-R) Tin Man (Jack Haley), Dorothy (Judy Garland), Scarecrow (Ray Bolger), and the Cowardly Lion (Bert Lahr) from "The Wizard of Oz" TM & © Turner Entertainment Co. (s12)

So what do you think?  Are you a fan of “The Wizard of Oz?”  Will you be “clicking your heels” to make your way “somewhere over the rainbow” and play in the Land of Oz?  Leave a comment below, and let us know your thoughts.  For more travel news and features, be sure to follow Adventures by Daddy on twitter and “like” our facebook page too.

About Dave Parfitt

Married, father of two girls, and living in the heart of the Finger Lakes. I'm a runner with a PhD in neuroscience and a passion for travel.