Intrigued by the filming locations depicted in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and Prince Caspian, but can't make it to New Zealand, Poland, or Slovakia this winter? Well, head to Philadelphia instead to get your fill of all things Narnia at the Franklin Institute when "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Exhibition" opens there this Friday, Nov. 28.
The 10,000-square-foot interactive exhibit features scene displays, creatures, props, and costumes from both movies, while also explaining the science and natural history behind the fantasy world. Guests enter in a re-creation of author C.S. Lewis's study and then step through a wardrobe to find themselves in a wintry Narnia scene, complete with wind and falling snow.
Highlights include a replica of the White Witch's throne that visitors can sit on to feel its icy chill, accompanied by a display on climate change; a section on King Miraz's castle from Prince Caspian where guests can build an arch, learn about the architectural strategies used in the design, and also witness a demonstration of a medieval catapulting weapon; and an area showcasing pieces of petrified history, including a 5-million-year-old cave bear tooth.
The displays—supported by input from NASA and California Institute of Technology scientists—are especially designed to allow kids to question the validity of the fantastical elements in the movies: Can animals communicate with humans? Can a waterfall really freeze? Can we manipulate the weather?
In the movies, the magic was grounded in reality. As Prince Caspian executive producer Perry Moore explains, "That kind of magic is related to nature. It's about the power of the planet and the power of the earth."
The exhibit runs at the Franklin through Apr. 19, 2009. Tickets cost $22.25 for adults and $17.50 for kids before 5:30 p.m., which also includes regular museum admission; after 5:30 p.m., adults pay $10.50 and kids pay $9.50. Tickets are sold online. Narnia-themed packages are also available at local hotels. narniaexhibition.com
Philadelphia is the second stop on the traveling exhibit's multi-city tour. It debuted in Phoenix's Arizona Science Center in June and will visit eight more cities in the U.S. and Canada over the next five years.