By: Rebbecca LaFalce

Harry Potter fans have been counting down the days for the Harry Potter Exhibit in the Franklin Institute to finally open its doors. This is the first time fans have had really anything Harry Potter-related that has been closer than Universal in Orlando. As a Potter fan myself, I bought my tickets months in advance and went the weekend they opened. Let me say I was absolutely not disappointed by what The Franklin Institute had to offer for this interactive exhibit.

Once you enter the exhibit you are given a wrist band which you will use throughout the exhibit. The fans are lined up with wide eyes as you can really see how in-depth the details have been made from the line queue. You begin by creating a profile picture, picking your house, wand, and your Patronus. There was a bit of a line for me at this point, so I would recommend going a bit earlier than your scheduled time. Take a picture in front of platform 9 ¾. Then you are brought into the magic. 

Enter with amazement as you see the creative genius of JK Rowling brought to life. Explore the making of the movies, and see some of the costumes worn by the actors ranging from the first movie all the way to the last. Experience a potion class and even play some quidditch. Tap your magic band to earn points for your chosen house by doing interactive activities, such as learning how to cast spells. Don’t forget to visit the room under the stairs and see how Harry really felt sleeping down there!

The setups for the exhibit feel as if you are stepping into the movie. The sound effects around you mixed with the music from the movie really create an amazing experience. If you enjoy spicing up your Instagram there are plenty of photo ops. For Potter fans, this is an absolute must-do. 

Finish off your trip by going into the pensive room and viewing all of Harry’s memories from getting his letter to Hogwarts to playing in his first quidditch match. The most memorable and iconic scenes from the movies play in this room, which can be quite a tear-jerker for some of the fans.

Don’t forget to check out the gift shop at the end. You can get any gear from your chosen house, or even grab a butterbeer for the road. When I went it was a completely sold-out night. I recommend letting things calm down a bit, which I feel would make the experience much more enjoyable. The times of 11 am – 4 pm during the week seem to be a great time to go. Buying tickets before is definitely recommended, especially with the specific time slots that are currently given. If possible, find street parking or even take the patco in. The garage is $20 to park which I felt was expensive for about an hour. 

The tickets themselves currently range in price based on what time you visit. If you would like to go during the day and explore the rest of the museum the tickets are about $43 if you decide you just want to see the exhibit. Tickets are $30 flat. Personally, I wish I went during the day! The Franklin Institute has always been a personal favorite for me and for $13 more I think it would have been worth it.