The evening of July 30, I just happened to be flipping through a local magazine and saw an ad for “Harry Potter Day” at the children’s museum. Last year the children & I attended an awesome “Hogwarts School” event at the museum (which was $25/person & required pre-pregistration) so I was definitely interested, but sad that we wouldn’t be able to go. Then I saw that there was no preregistration required, the events were open to anyone visiting the museum that day. Score!
Saturday morning we dressed appropriately – I wore my “Property of the Half-Blood Prince” shirt, Ron wore his “I solemnly swear I am up to no good” shirt, and I let Ginny wear my “Muggle” T-shirt. (This may actually have been a mistake, because all day people would ask her “Are you a Muggle” and she would say “No!!”). Last year she wore her Hogwarts robe & I crimped her hair to look like Hermione’s, but this time she did want to do either of those things. We were delighted that Muggle Man decided to join us.
A schedule of events was posted online and Ginny asked me to write down a copy for her. I made a really cool looking schedule written in Calligraphy on “parchment” and, after admiring it, decided it would make a great photo for the blog. Too bad I didn’t snap the picture then, because in the car on the way home (much to my horror!!!) Ginny ripped it to pieces :-( As you can see, I decided to piece it back together and make a picture to share anyway. It actually looks a little more authentic now, no?!
Anyhoo, we arrived at the museum, checked in at the desk, and then the children used “quill” pens to sign a “parchment” stating that they were students at Hogwarts. We headed upstairs, where Ginny got a lightning bolt painted onto her forehead, then we went to the “Charms” lesson. As we were approaching the area, this innocent looking little blonde girl dressed in pink points her “wand” at Ginny and says “AVADA KEDAVRA!” (the killing curse!). I was enraged that she would do this to my child. Ginny was in shock & just stood there staring. I looked at the girl and said, “That wasn’t very nice!” and we moved on. Well a few minutes later she came over to Muggle Man and said “AVADA KEDAVRA!” to him!” Brazen, this child. Well without missing a beat, Muggle Man responded, “Expecto Patronum!” The Death Eater in Pink responded, “I’M not a Dementor!” to which Muggle Man replied, “Well you look like one!” This stopped her in her tracks for a second and thankfully she moved on. My mouth had dropped that Muggle Man had said that to her. I ended up laughing about it the rest of the day. It was especially funny because he does not even know what a Dementor is!
The “Charms Professor” started with his “lesson.” He needed a volunteer from the audience and guess who he picked – yup, Pink Death Eater! He quickly regretted his decision because she kept saying things like, “You’re supposed to be Snape” and pointing out other inconsistencies with the book (I do have to give her props for her HP knowledge), and not cooperating with what he wanted her to do. At one point he actually took her face in his hand and said “And you are now going to keep your mouth closed and not say anything else.” Alrighty then.
Next we went to the wand making. This was pretty cute. There were several shades of brown & gray construction paper and the children were told to choose which kind of “wood” they wanted for their wand, and to get a “unicorn hair” (piece of tinsel). They then decorated the paper however they wanted, taped the unicorn hair inside, rolled up & taped the wand.
At this point it was time for “Care of Magical Creatures.” We all later agreed that this was the highlight of the day. A woman from a wildlife rescue program had two owls with her and we got to learn all about them. It was very informative and we really enjoyed seeing the live owls.
We then went back upstairs to “Divination.” I’m not a fan of ”fortune telling” but Ginny was interested so we did it, although we did talk about how it was just for fun. The gal doing the “divination” did a great job. She had on oversized cat-eye glasses & a big shawl and had a big “crystal ball.” She said things like, “What grade do you see yourself going into?” and asked Ginny if she saw any animals inside the globe. Ginny said she saw kittens, and the gal said that the animal you see gives a clue as to your personality and that Ginny must be sweet and friendly. Again, very cute.
After this we went to “Potions Class with Professor Snape.” The same guy who was Snape at last year’s event was back, although I was disappointed that he did not have his pageboy wig on this year. He did a great job of getting into character and you could tell he knew a lot about the books.
The next event was the “Quidditch Obstacle Course.” Ginny was interested in this so we got in line but once she saw what it was (basically an egg-in-spoon race, on broomsticks) she changed her mind. The next event was a “Harry Potter Dance Party” but it was over half an hour away. We were all hungry for lunch but I knew that if we did not go to the dance party, Ginny would think she had missed something wonderful, so we hung around until it started. I don’t know who picked the music but it was not good music to dance to at all (?!), in a dark room with a disco ball on a table in the center. Muggle Man & Ginny danced for 5-10 minutes and then we convinced her to leave.
Definitely a successful outing! At this point it was almost 2:00 and we were all starving. I had a gift card to Red Lobster and we figured there wouldn’t be that many people there at 2 in the afternoon so we headed to Red Lobster. We got there and the waiting area was full. What the heck?! It was pouring rain and I figured by the time we went back out (in the rain) to the car and went somewhere else (and got back out in the rain), we were probably just as well off staying and waiting. So, wait we did. Needless to say, once they finally arrived those cheddar biscuits never looked so good!
We enjoyed a nice luncheon and headed home, with a quick stop on the way home at the grocery store so I could run in and buy an ingredient I needed for the recipe I wanted to try that afternoon — Butterbeer!
My cute Dad had cut an article about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park out of the newspaper for me a while back, and it had the following butterbeer recipe: http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/38019021/ns/today-todaytravel/ The recipe was very easy and I couldn’t wait to try it. It wasn’t quite as thick and sweet as I had imagined, but it was a close enough approximation. If I made it again I would probably put a little less cream soda in it, but, I wasn’t planning to drink the cream soda afterward & I went ahead and used it all up. Another change I would make is that I would not bother with the topping. When I poured the cream soda in it made plenty of thick, foamy head all on its own. Ron & Ginny just drank a sip of their drinks so I put their Butterbeers in the fridge and I think it may have tasted even better the next day.
A pint glass of homemade butterbeer
All in all, a fun day and fun celebration of the books we love so much.
PS – In case you’re interested, check out my post about making Butterbeer Cupcakes (link below): http://realmugglemom.wordpress.com/2011/09/03/butterbeer-cupcakes/