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UWISHUNU Feature published on February 18, 2022

Harry Potter: The Seven Coolest Things to See & Do at the World-Premiere Exhibit

The all-new exhibition is now open at The Franklin Institute through September 2022...

Photo by S. Ramones for Visit Philadelphia

Travel Responsibly: As the region recovers from COVID-19, safety guidelines have evolved at attractions, restaurants, shops and hotels. Advance tickets or reservations remain recommended or necessary at many spots. Your best bet: Check online or call ahead.

Calling all Gryffindors, Hufflepuffs, Ravenclaws and Slytherins…

The brand-new touring exhibition all about Harry Potter’s Wizarding World is making its world premiere at The Franklin Institute from February 18 to September 18, 2022 — and tickets are now on sale.

Harry Potter: The Exhibition reveals the sorcery — ahem, artistry and craftsmanship — behind the moments, costumes, characters and environments from the blockbuster films of the Harry Potter series, as well as the expanded Wizarding World in Fantastic Beasts and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

The immersive exhibition is as-advertised: The paintings move, the candles float, the mandrakes scream and the dementors — well, they’re creepy! Exhibits highlight the many sets and costumes that made the series jump from the pages to the screen so successfully.

Two visitors engage in a wand duel inside Harry Potter: The Exhibition Two visitors engage in a wand duel inside Harry Potter: The Exhibition

  — Photo by S. Ramones for Visit Philadelphia

There are also a number of interactive experiences that bring the magic of Hogwarts to your fingertips.

For Potter fans, the entire exhibition is a can’t-miss for many, many reasons. Here are seven of our favorite features:

Exhibition Highlights

1. Earn Points for Your House

The first stop before entering the exhibition is King’s Cross Station. Swing by to pick up a magic wristband (the key to unlocking most of the interactive displays inside) and choose a favorite Hogwarts house, wand and Patronus on a touch-screen kiosk. Scan the wristband wherever a “Golden Snitch” appears throughout the exhibition to unlock fun experiences, and you’ll rack up points for your chosen house in the process. Keep track of your points, and try to outscore your friends. 10 points for Gryffindor!

Two women examine a stained glass window inside Harry Potter: The Exhibition Two women examine a stained glass window inside Harry Potter: The Exhibition

  — Photo by S. Ramones for Visit Philadelphia

2. Master Potions Class

The exhibition features areas for different Hogwarts classes: Divination, Defense Against the Dark Arts, Herbology and — insert a Snape-like dramatic pause — Potions. Locate the correct ingredients for each potion on a touch screen (hint: Clues can be found in a nearby textbook) and get rewarded with a scene from one of the films and points for your house. Get it wrong, and the mixture blows up faster than Aunt Marge.

A person in a mask looks into a pot at Harry Potter: The Exhibition at The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia A person in a mask looks into a pot at Harry Potter: The Exhibition at The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia

  — Photo by Visit Philadelphia

3. Travel by Portkey

Grab onto an old leather boot in the middle of this immersive room in the “Wizarding World” section of the exhibition and hold on tight. Screens on all sides begin to spin faster and faster until there’s nothing visible except for thick clouds. When the fog clears, you’ve been transported with Harry and company from a peaceful meadow to the festive grounds of the Quidditch World Cup. Wicked!

4. Take a Selfie Inside Harry’s Room Under the Stairs

Go back to where it all started. The exhibition features a number of fully fleshed out setpieces from the films, including Hagrid’s hut, Professor Umbridge’s sickly sweet office and Harry’s cramped “bedroom” in the cupboard under the stairs. Plop yourself on the uncomfortable bed, and snap a quick selfie before Dudley comes bounding down the staircase.

5. Launch a Quaffle on the Quidditch Pitch

Ball is life — even in the Wizarding World. Read about Harry’s favorite sport in the Quidditch room before launching a spongy Quaffle through a series of six elevated hoops. Bonus: A peephole next to the pitch offers a Snitch-eye view of the Quidditch World Cup, showing action-packed scenes from the big game in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

6. Relive Harry’s Memories in the Pensieve Theater

A pensieve is a magical device that allows users to store and review memories. The Pensieve Theater near the end of the exhibition stores Harry’s memories, which coincide with some of the most iconic scenes from the blockbuster films. Spend a few minutes in the room to relive scenes like Harry’s first Quidditch game, his wayward flight in a flying car and his first steps inside Hogwarts — all on a massive screen.

7. Score Awesome Keepsakes in the Exhibition Store

Accio wallet! Your Harry Potter experience isn’t complete without a stop inside the exhibition store. (Plus, it’s the only way out of the exhibit.) The store is open to all general-admission Franklin Institute ticket holders. The keepsakes inside make perfect gifts for any Potter fanatic. Rep your favorite Hogwarts house with branded merch like sweaters, scarves, mugs and hats. Pick up a stuffed owl or cat, or a magical chess set. And don’t you dare forget the Butterbeer.

People walk up the steps of The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia People walk up the steps of The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia

  — Photo courtesy The Franklin Institute

Getting There & Tickets

The Franklin Institute is located at the intersection of 20th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. On-site parking is limited, but there are a few garages in the surrounding area.

Tickets to Harry Potter: The Exhibition are in high demand, with both daytime and evening tickets available. Daytime admission ($43 for adults and $39 for children) includes a timed ticket to Harry Potter: The Exhibition, as well as regular museum admission. Evening admission ($30 for adults and children) includes a timed ticket to Harry Potter: The Exhibition only.

To avoid busier times, weekday visits between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. are encouraged. Those interested in a weekend visit should purchase tickets well in advance in order to secure their preferred day and time.

Timed tickets can be purchased online through the Franklin Institute’s website.

Visitors look inside a Pensieve inside Harry Potter: The Exhibition Visitors look inside a Pensieve inside Harry Potter: The Exhibition

  — Photo by S. Ramones for Visit Philadelphia

On top of this can’t-miss exhibition, the Greater Philadelphia region is filled with opportunities for muggles to channel their inner witch or wizard before or after a visit to The Franklin Institute. Check out our list of 25 Magical Places to Channel Your Inner Harry Potter in Philadelphia.

Make it an Overnight Stay

Pairing your visit with a night or two in Philly is an easy way to explore the region’s other bountiful offerings. Check out the Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package, which includes hotel parking and a buy-one-get-one offer on attraction tickets sold at the Independence Visitor Center.

The package is available at more than 40 hotels through winter. New package perks will be introduced in spring. Book the package by clicking the button below.

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Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package

The Perfect Hotel Package for an Easy Philly Escape

Book the Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package for a rewarding getaway in one of 2021’s top destinations, per Condé Nast Traveler, Fodor’s, Frommer’s, Esquire and more.

The exclusive deal — booked more than 175,000 times since 2001 — includes buy-one-get-one-free attraction tickets purchased at the Independence Visitor Center to 33 of Philly’s iconic museums and attractions and free hotel parking (worth up to $100 in Center City Philadelphia).

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