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Harry Potter: The Exhibition — A Destination All (Muggle) Families Will Love

There are a ton of great activities for families with kids in New York City, but only a few can be described as magical. Harry Potter: The Exhibition is one most definitely magical experience. The Times Square exhibit takes muggles and wannabe-wizards through the props and design behind all eight Harry Potter movies. It’s a rare opportunity to get up close with favorite props and sets, including everything from Harry and Ron’s dormitory, to a life-size Buckbeak the hippogriff, to seeing the details etched on all of Voldemort’s horcruxes. While you can’t touch many of the more delicate props, there are a lot of fun, interactive moments that kids (and their parents) will love, like throwing a quaffle and pulling out a mandrake. The optional audio guide is not to be missed, as it provides lots of interesting facts and details about the props and design of the films that you won’t get elsewhere. They’re easily sharable, so one or two per family will work out fine. And just so you can’t say we didn’t warn you: there is a great gift shop full of t-shirts, wands, toys, and more at the end.

See our favorite moments from the exhibition below! —Alexandra Martell and Andrea Roxas


  • Welcome 1 of 25
    Welcome
    Right before you go into the exhibition, the staff (sporting British accents) give you wands and scarves to take a picture in front of a green screen. You can purchase the photo at the end in the gift shop.
  • The Sorting 2 of 25
    The Sorting
    The first thing you do when you enter is get sorted — and the hat does take your preferences into account. (Associate editor Andrea got sorted into Gryffindor!)
  • Harry’s Admission Letter 3 of 25
    Harry's Admission Letter
    The exhibit allows you to see props up-close, like this letter admitting Harry into Hogwarts.
  • Marauder’s Map 4 of 25
    Marauder's Map
    Check out all the detail you can see on the map that let Harry sneak around the castle.
  • Mandrakes! 5 of 25
    Mandrakes!
    One of the interactive stations at the exhibit included this one from the second movie, The Chamber of Secrets. It lets you pull out screaming mandrakes (no earmuffs required)!
  • Your Greatest Fear 6 of 25
    Your Greatest Fear
    This gigantic jack-in-the-box was a prop from the third film, The Prisoner of Azkaban. It's just as big as it seemed on screen.
  • The Boggart’s Cabinet 7 of 25
    The Boggart's Cabinet
    Don't worry, a boggart won't jump out and scare you.
  • Severus Snape’s Costume 8 of 25
    Severus Snape's Costume
    If you're listening to the audio tour, you'll learn fun trivia about the props and costumes, like the fact that they never changed Snape's robes throughout the entire series.
  • The Daily Prophet 9 of 25
    The Daily Prophet
    These headlines are way more interesting than The Post!
  • Quibbler, Anyone? 10 of 25
    Quibbler, Anyone?
    Kids will enjoy seeing things their favorite characters (like Luna Lovegood) held in their hands.
  • 10 Points for Gryffindor! 11 of 25
    10 Points for Gryffindor!
    One of the more exciting interactive features is getting to throw a real quaffle through one of the three hoops.
  • Quidditch Robes 12 of 25
    Quidditch Robes
    You get to see how costumes evolve from the first through last films.
  • The Sorcerer’s Stone 13 of 25
    The Sorcerer's Stone
    We couldn't believe how little Harry was in this outfit from the first movie!
  • The Yule Ball 14 of 25
    The Yule Ball
    The elegant costumes from the Goblet of Fire really sparkle in person.
  • The Golden Egg 15 of 25
    The Golden Egg
    We never realized how detailed this prop was until we saw it in person.
  • Umbridge’s Edicts 16 of 25
    Umbridge's Edicts
    This wall looks exactly as it does in the fifth movie, The Order of the Phoenix.
  • I Must Not Tell Lies 17 of 25
    I Must Not Tell Lies
    We don't think this list was actually written in blood ...
  • The Sword of Gryffindor 18 of 25
    The Sword of Gryffindor
    It's a lot larger in person than you think!
  • Hagrid’s Hut 19 of 25
    Hagrid's Hut
    You'll really feel tiny sitting in Hagrid's half-giant-sized furniture!
  • Buckbeak 20 of 25
    Buckbeak
    While the Buckbeak in the film was done with CGI, all mythical characters in the movies have life-sized models built of them.
  • Divination 21 of 25
    Divination
    It was so fun to check out the random props from Hogwarts classes, like Professor Trelawney's crystal balls.
  • Take Out Your Wand 22 of 25
    Take Out Your Wand
    These belonged to Lord Voldemort and some of his most devoted Death Eaters.
  • The Hallows 23 of 25
    The Hallows
    The invisibility cloak, resurrection stone, and Elder Wand are some of the last props you see in the exhibit.
  • Outfits from the Last Movie 24 of 25
    Outfits from the Last Movie
    Surrounded by rubble from the battle at Hogwarts.
  • Horcruxes 25 of 25
    Horcruxes
    Make sure to look closely at the diadem, which really does say "Wit beyond measure is man's greatest treasure."

For advance tickets ($27 for adults, $19.50 for kids) and more information, visit discoverytsx.com.

All photos by Andrea Roxas and Alexandra Martell.

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