It all started with a book. In 1900, the publication of L. Frank Baum's book "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" caused a national sensation that lead to 13 sequels over the next 20 years. This timeless tale has been brought to life in many forms and now a new colorful traveling exhibition is a larger than life pop-up book that will dazzle the eyes and stimulate the mind, while instilling a love of reading and storytelling.
Begin your adventure on a farm that features Dorothy's house. Using dress-up and roleplaying, children will discover life on a farm in 1900 while interacting with learning activities such as collecting and counting eggs, tending and harvesting corn and assembling a puzzle of farm animals and their sounds. Peek around the next corner and let yourself be pulled into an encounter with tornados where the science of a vortex comes alive. See the force of a storm as it surges from F1 to F5. Spin a top in Tornado Alley and see a storm's destructive force as it powers through the farm.
Blow through to the Land of Munchkins with its message of tolerance. Play dress up with Munchkin clothes in a Munchkin house. Hand puppets in the Land of Oz Puppet Theater help children embrace differences among people as they meet those who live in this fantastic land. Meet the Tin Woodman and learn about your heart with beating, beeping and flashing machines. "Feel the Beat" and "What's Your Pulse" give children a chance to feel for themselves how activity affects heart rate.
Drop by and help put the scarecrow together. "Pick Your Brain" gives visitors a chance to figure out which brain corresponds with which animal. Venture into the forest and the Lion will help you find your courage as you crawl through a dark cave. Do your best to spot all the hidden animals along your trek through the forest camouflage. Team up and help solve the task of building the "road of yellow brick" to Emerald City. Don't forget to look through the special Oz spectacles that let you see the city in its entire green splendor. Test your acting skills, using all the props and costumes as you perform scenes from the book.
Brace yourself for The Wicked Witch of the West. Help finish building her castle and see what it's like to be a Winged Monkey. Seek refuge with Glinda, the Good Witch of the South, in her cozy reading nook. Catch your breath, relax, click the heels of the huge silver shoes, and then dream away as you finish the time honored story of "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz."
The integrated learning in the exhibition incorporates storytelling with art, science, math and history stimulating learning through creativity, play, and exploration. The character building exhibit asks children and their accompanying adults to ponder and discuss questions. In addition, there is a full complement of educational programs that celebrate the integrated learning across the curriculum both for the public and schools.
The exhibition was produced and developed by Great Explorations Children's Museum of St. Petersburg, Florida; designed and fabricated by Bruce Barry's Wacky World Studios of Oldsmar, Florida; with a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The exhibition has been endorsed by The International Wizard of Oz Club and The L. Frank Baum Family Trust, produced with assistance from scholars, collectors and enthusiasts who advised on its development.
And if your little ones are fans of Dorothy and all her friends, see Gaylord Texan Resort take the Oz adventure to new heights. All summer long, hotel guests will be entertained with beautiful balloon displays in the hotel's enclosed glass-domed atrium and the opportunity to see Oz characters throughout the resort. Special Wizard of Oz activities will include the Aahz Kids Craft Corner, family movie nights at Lower Texan Station, Oohs & Oz Atrium Art Tour, the Last Treasure of Oz Scavenger Hunt and more. The 12th annual SummerFest event takes place May 22 - September 7, 2015. For more information, visit www.gaylordtexan.com.
The exhibition is free and will be open Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. - 6:30 p.m. and Sunday 12 p.m. - 5 p.m. The Tower Gallery is located in the Grapevine Convention & Visitors Bureau Headquarters at 636 S. Main St. For more information about Grapevine, please visit www.GrapevineTexasUSA.com or call 817-410-3185.