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"The Wizard of Oz" at the Children's Museum of Manhattan

Munchkinland and the Emerald City come to life at the Upper West Side tot spot.

  • "The Wizard of Oz" exhibit at the Children's Museum of Manhattan

"The Wizard of Oz" exhibit at the Children's Museum of Manhattan

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Photographs: Children's Museum of Manhattan

Follow the number 1 subway, follow the number 1 subway...This month, Oz comes to the Upper West Side in the form of a new interactive exhibition at the Children's Museum of Manhattan.

Kids will step into a series of quasi movie sets, starting with the Gales' farmyard. There they'll learn about animals, vegetables and equipment, before venturing over to Professor Marvel's gypsy wagon, a cart packed with optical illusions. Nearby, visitors can also hand-crank a six-foot-tall tornado vortex and pass under a rainbow (an arch made of blocks). Then it's off to Munchkinland, where tots can play house in tiny cottages and bang out movie melodies on musical pipes.

At the Crossroads, kids will meet Dorothy's crew. Tykes can dress the scarecrow in wigs and flannel, brush the Cowardly Lion's mane and fit gears together to create a working mechanism on the Tin Man's chest.

Of course, Oz isn't all hearts and rainbows. The Wicked Witch's castle comes complete with a crystal ball and winged monkeys. Young heroes will discover strength they didn't know they had by scaling the fortress, nabbing the witch's broomstick and conquering an obstacle course made up of a drawbridge slide, a balance beam and a rope spiderweb.

With broomstick in hand, it's off to see the Wizard. Obscured by a curtain, kids can manipulate a console to ignite special effects. While they experiment, a voice shouts to potential onlookers, “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.” But the warning isn't necessary; visitors will have plenty to distract them from revealing their fellow mini-wizards' true identities.

"The Wizard of Oz" is on view Sept 25--May 8, 2011 at the Children's Museum of Manhattan.




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