The castle of the Wicked Witch of the West is an imposing structure. Access to the Witch’s broomstick is guarded by turrets, a bouldering wall and a spider crawl. Children can choose which path they want to take to make their way to the center turret where the broom is held.
IF YOU GO
■ What: "The Wizard of Oz" exhibit.
■ When: Saturday, May 24-Sunday, Sept. 7 (summer hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday, noon-5 p.m. Sunday).
■ Where: Creative Discovery Museum, 321 Chestnut St.
■ Admission: $12.95 (discounts for military and local police officers and firefighters with ID and Tennessee Aquarium visitors with ticket stub).
■ Phone: 423-756-2738.
■ Website: www.cdmfun.org.
Families can follow the yellow brick road across the Creative Discovery Museum plaza into the land of Oz when the children's museum opens its new exhibit, "The Wizard of Oz," on Saturday, May 24.
This the first licensed traveling educational exhibit based on the beloved 1939 movie, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. Dorothy, Tin Man, Cowardly Lion, Scarecrow and Glinda the Good Witch will all be on hand throughout opening weekend to welcome children to the Emerald City.
"The classic story teaches personal values through self-discovery, and the exhibit takes these values a step further as it addresses literacy, science concepts and arts education using the highly recognizable characters and symbols from the movie," says Jayne Griffin, director of education at the museum. "We hope that everyone will follow the yellow brick road this summer into the enchanted education that Oz can provide for children."
Exhibit areas and their themes are:
■ The Gale Farm -- Farming, nature and illusion: Children will learn about life on a farm through hands-on play. This area also teaches the science behind tornadoes and how they form.
■ Munchkinland: Explore visual, musical and performing arts through creative expression, imaginative play and literacy-building activities. Meet Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion and Tin Man.
■ Crossroads: Children discover their personal strengths, courage and values while learning the importance of having compassion for others.
■ Witch's Castle: This area builds courage as children overcome physical challenges and engage gross motor skills to capture the Wicked Witch's broom.
■ Emerald City: Meet the Wizard of Oz and learn the concept of being oneself. Families may experiment with science and light to create special effects, create a "horse of a different color," play at the kaleidoscope and prism stations and "pay no attention to the man behind the curtain."
Elements of the movie available only in this licensed exhibition include shoes like Dorothy's ruby red slippers, beloved characters and classic movie moments.
Although the Wicked Witch of the West is part of one themed area, museum staff members are "very aware" of the propensity for the witch and her flying monkeys to scare tots. Luke Evans, public relations coordinator, assures parents the witch's scenes are nonthreatening to children.
As they travel through the CDM's land of Oz, children will experience Dorothy's adventures before returning over the rainbow to their Chattanooga homes.
Contact Susan Pierce at email@example.com or 423-757-6284.
SNEAK PREVIEW FRIDAY
Be the first to visit "The Wizard of Oz" exhibit during a two-hour preview on Friday, May 23, at the children's museum from 10 a.m. to noon. Although this sneak peek is a media preview, families visiting the museum are welcome to see the exhibit during that time as well, says Luke Evans, CDM public relations coordinator.
Dorothy, Tin Man, Cowardly Lion, Scarecrow and Glinda the Good Witch will be on hand to welcome visitors to the land of Oz, where children can try a variety of movie-related activities. The first 50 children who show up dressed as one of these characters will receive free admission to the museum for that day.
Susan Palmer Pierce is a reporter and columnist in the Life department. She began her journalism career as a summer employee 1972 for the News Free Press, typing bridal announcements and photo captions. She became a full-time employee in 1980, working her way up to feature writer, then special sections editor, then Lifestyle editor in 1995 until the merge of the NFP and Times in 1999. She was honored with the 2007 Chattanooga Woman of ...