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 led to13 sequels over the next 20 years. This timeless tale has been brought to life in a giant pop-up book exhibition that will dazzle the eyes and stimulate the mind.
The exhibit features stations relating to different components of the story and teaches lessons in math, science and history. Visitors start at Dorothy’s House, where they learn about farm life through role playing and interactive activities including collecting and counting eggs, tending and harvesting corn and assembling a puzzle of farm animals.
Next, they can take a spin at the Tornado station learning about the power of tornados and even exploring a miniature tornado alley. At the Tin Woodsman and Scarecrow stations children can learn how the heart works and tease their brains with math and engineering puzzles.
As visitors continue along the yellow brick road they have the opportunity to create their own Wicked Witch’s castle, bravely take on the “Cave of Courage” and meet the Wonderful Wizard of Oz himself.
Lisa Negrini, CEO at Great Explorations, stated, “Families love this exhibition because it’s a familiar story and the exhibit itself is so whimsical and bright. We are particularly proud to present programming which teaches children a love of reading and storytelling.”
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is sponsored by Tampa Bay Times and included in the general admission price. The exhibit is open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Sundays 12-4:30 p.m.
Great Explorations will celebrate the opening of the exhibit with a special Oz Family Fun Night at 6-9 p.m. on Saturday, September 7, where guests are encouraged to dress as their favorite Oz character. Tickets are $15 per person (including museum members) and include great food, contests and prizes, and Oz games and activities for the entire family.
About the Exhibition
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.
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has travelled the country since its creation in 2010. Most recently it was at the St. Louis Main Library and Kohl Children’s Museum in Chicago.
About Great Explorations Children’s Museum
Great Explorations Children’s Museum has served the children and families of the Tampa Bay area since 1987. Designed for children 10 and under, the 24,000 square foot museum is filled with exhibits and activities to stimulate learning through creativity, play and exploration. The museum also offers a national award-winning preschool, field trips and community outreach programs.
Location: 1925 4th Street North, St. Petersburg Florida 33704
Hours: Monday – Saturday 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Sunday 12 p.m. – 4:30 PM