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Pacific Science Center's Harry Potter Exhibition is magic

A visit shows that the Science Center's exhibition, which opened Saturday, is a dream come to life for anyone who has wanted to spend time in  the world of the Harry Potter books and movies.

If you ever wished to go to Hogwarts, to be sorted by the sorting hat, to throw a quaffle, or to see Buckbeak and Dobby, now is your chance.  

Bridging the gap between our muggle world and the wizarding world, Harry Potter: The Exhibition, which opened Saturday (Oct. 23), displays over 200 costumes and props from the famous Harry Potter movies.

Thursday night at the preview party, lucky fans were the first to experience the magic at the Pacific Science Center.  Visitors, some dressed up as their favorite Harry Potter characters, were welcomed in the first room by a familiar raggedy old pointy hat. A few brave volunteers eagerly tried on the sorting hat, which after a few seconds of pondering would come to a conclusion and bellow, “Ravenclaw!" "Slytherin!" "Huffelpuff!" or Griffyndor!”, dividing the volunteers based on their intelligence, slyness, loyalty, or bravery.

Down the hall, the billowing steam of the just-arrived Hogwarts Express welcomed them into the exhibition. What follows is a tour through the Hogwarts dormitories, the Great Hall, Hagrid’s cabin, and the Forbidden Forest.  Visitors can test their quidditch skills by tossing quaffles through hoops, can pull mandrakes in Professor Sprout’s herbology lesson, and observe the hatching of a dragon egg while sitting in Hagrid’s massive chair.

Props and costumes from all the movies are on display, including Harry’s wand and glasses, Dumbledore’s glamorous robes, Professor Trelawney’s crystal ball, the Triward Cup and dress robes worn by the actors in The Goblet of Fire, and the marauder’s map.  Some are big in size, such as the Wizard Chess pieces from "The Philosopher’s Stone" and Professor Lupin’s boggart’s closet from "The Prisoner of Azkaban." Others, like the golden snitch and Hermione’s time-turner necklace, are fine and detailed.

Physical models of digital characters like the house elves Dobby and Kreacher, Buckbeak the hippogriff, the Hungarian horntail dragon and a scary dementor are on display as well .

The exhibition gives fans a preview of what to expect in the seventh movie, opening in theaters Nov. 19. Rita Skeeter’s biography of Dumbledore is on display as is Slytherin’s locket and a decoy detector.

Through comments by the set and costume designers, the audio guide gives visitors an impression of just how much detail and precision goes into movie costumes and props.

The last stop is the gift shop, where visitors can buy their very own Olivander’s wand, marauder’s map, or quills.

The 10,000 square-foot exhibit  was previously on display in Chicago, Boston, and Ontario and Seattle is the last stop in the U.S.  The exhibition will be at the Science Center through Jan. 30.

Anne-Marije Rook is the web editor and lead reporter of the Ballard News-Tribune. She's also a freelance writer whose work has appeared in a dozen publications..


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