Movie Magic! 16 Cinematic Experiences Beyond the Screen

Sometimes fans of the big screen want to go a step further and immersive themselves in movie magic. From sing-a-longs to ET sightings to visits to Hogwarts we’ve rounded up the best ways to experience your favorite films throughout the DC area.


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Mean Girls

Mean Girls Take the Stage
On Wednesday we wear pink. In April, we head to the Kennedy Center to see Mean Girls hit the stage. This musical rendition of the beloved movie comes direct from Broadway and makes a great outing with t(w)eens who can relate to having to deal with their school’s Queen Bee.

When: Apr. 5-24
Cost: $45-199
Where: John F. Kennedy Center, 2700 F St NW, Foggy Bottom
Online: tinybeans.com

Hilarious Hairspray
Fans of the quirky film Hairspray should head to The National Theatre in May to see the campy musical live and onstage. You will sit on the edge of your seat as you follow the journey of a teen from Baltimore with big dreams, and even bigger hair, attempts to dance her way onto the nation’s most popular television show.  Keep an eye on the National’s schedule because other movie adaptations are on their way, including Aladdin, Beetlejuice and My Fair Lady.

When: May 10-15
Cost: $50-100
Where: The National Theatre, 1321 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Downtown
Online: tinybeans.com

The Jurassic Encounter

Jurassic Encounter
Fans of Jurassic World can get their own up-close and personal experience with a T-Rex, Triceratops and more at Jurassic Encounter. There are also digging stations, a dino village and free features including photo ops and a bouncy house. Download the exhibit’s app to learn more about dinos while wandering among the animatronic dinos your little ones will be convinced are real. To see these majestic creatures head to Bull Run, VA on May 30-31.

When: May 20-31
Cost: $19/2 & up
Where: Bull Run Regional Park, 7700 Bull Run Dr, Centreville, VA
Online: tinybeans.com

Everything Is Awesome
Do you follow the instructions or throw the booklet away and build your own creations? Either way, everyone who loves The LEGO Movie will feel right at home at Brickfest. Jump into a giant pile of bricks, ooh and ahh at life-size LEGO creations and participate in building activities. Head to Landover, MD on June 11-12 or Richmond, VA on November 5-6 to see where your imagination takes you.

When: Jun. 11-12
Cost: $24.99-49.99
Where: Prince George’s Sports and Learning Complex, 8001 Sheriff Rd., Landover, MD
Online: tinybeans.com

 

The Franklin Institute

Enter the Wizarding World
Don’t just watch Harry Potter – become Harry Potter. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter comes to life in a new exhibition in which Muggles and witches alike can visit Harry’s bedroom under the stairs, Hogwarts, the Forbidden Forrest and more. Grab your robe and practice Defense Against the Dark Arts, brew potions and use their wands to perform spells. Fans of the movies will also find costumes and props from the original movies and the Fantastic Beasts prequels. Anyone waiting for the letter from Hogwarts will find it’s worth the drive to the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia.

When: Now-Sept. 18
Cost; $39-43
Where: The Franklin Institute, 222 North 20th St., Philadelphia, PA 19103
Online: fi.edu

Play with Wallace & Gromit
Head to Port Discovery Children’s Museum to tinker with Wallace & Gromit’s inventions in the workshop, blast off in a rocket and more. The only bad news is that you need to wait until May 2023 for the exhibit to make its way to Baltimore.

When: May 2023
Cost: $19.95
Where: Port Discovery Children’s Museum, 35 Market Pl, Baltimore, MD 21202
Online: rentexhibits.mcm.org

Get Emotional with Inside Out
This fall, an exhibit based on the beloved movie Inside Out is headed to the National Children’s Museum. Kids will learn about Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust and Fear through hands-on activities including a Memory Sphere and Emotions Mirrors.

When: Fall 2022 (Dates TBD)
Cost: $15.95
Where: National Children’s Museum, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Downtown
Online: nationalchildrensmuseum.org

Wolf Trap

Sing-A-Long
The hills are alive with the Sound of Music! On July 16th head to Wolf Trap to sing your heart out as the classic movie plays. Worried you will forget the words to My Favorite Things? Don’t panic. There will be on-screen lyrics. Costumes are encouraged. Break out your favorite lederhosen and you just may win the costume contest that will take place before the sing-a-long begins.  

When: July 16
Cost: $27
Where: Wolf Trap, 1551 Trap Rd, Vienna, VA 22182
Online: tinybeans.com

Planet Snoopy
Become immersed in the world of Peanuts in Planet Snoopy at King’s Dominion. Ride Sally’s Sea Plane, race in the Peanuts 500 and more. You never know when you might run into a favorite character while at the park!

When: Year-round
Cost: $39.99
Where: King’s Dominion, 16000 Theme Park Way, Doswell, VA 23047
Online: kingsdominion.com

The Soundtracks
The National Symphony Orchestra loves movies! This July, the NSO will perform the scores to several classic movies live while the movies play. Head to Wolf Trap and the Kennedy Center to catch Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, The Empire Strikes Back, Toy Story, and ET in concert. These magical movies become even more enchanting when accompanied by a live orchestra.

Online: kennedy-center.org/nso

Disney Princesses – The Concert
Hear your favorite Disney Princess songs live and in person when Broadway stars who portrayed as the actresses who portrayed Broadway’s Belle, Jasmine, Nala, and Anastasia converge at the Kennedy Center. They will make your dreams come true in May when they sing classic Disney songs and share behind-the-scenes stories about what it’s really like to be a Disney princess. Note that the singers will appear on stage as themselves, not as the princesses they once were.

When: May 6-7
Cost: $29
Where: John F. Kennedy Center,2700 F St NW, Foggy Bottom
Online: tinybeans.com

 

Warren C. via Yelp

Movie Memories
Head to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History to see iconic memorabilia from classic films. You will spot Dorthey’s ruby red slippers from the Wizard of Oz, the iconic leather bomber worn by Indiana Jones and R2-D2 along with hundreds of other objects and images from the best American movies. Want more? Many movies have been filmed at the Smithsonian. That means you can walk in the footsteps of the stars of some of your favorites, including Night at the Museum, Captain America: Winter Soldier, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Transformers 2 and many others.

When: Year-round
Cost: Free
Where: National Museum of American History, 1300 Constitution Ave. NW, National Mall
Online: americanhistory.si.edu

Shaping Culture
The National Museum of African American History and Culture explores, among other things, how Black actors have shaped American life through movies. The museum’s Taking the Stage exhibit celebrates the creativity and achievements of Black artists in cinema while recognizing the struggle for equal representation in film. The exhibit also examines how African-American culture has been portrayed in movies over the years.

When: Year-round
Cost: Free
Where: National Museum of African American History and Culture, 1400 Constitution Ave. NW, National Mall
Online: nmaahc.si.edu

Jennifer K. via Yelp

E-Tea
What do you get a when an obsession with E.T. collides with Boba Tea? The answer is a tea house and sushi burrito bar named E-Tea. Enjoy delights such as an east-meets-west milk-based tea with floaty tiramisu under the watchful gaze of everyone’s favorite extra-terrestrial grinning from inside an other worldly looking cup full of Boba tea.

When: Year-round
Cost: $4.50 & up
Where: E-Tea, 49 District Square SW, The Wharf
Online: wharfdc.com

Pop Culture Mania
This summer AwesomeCon returns to Washington, DC June 3-5. Wander the halls of this celebration of everything pop culture and you just might run into your favorite character from Star Wars or that Marvel superhero you’ve always wanted to take a selfie with. Actors from The Hobbit Trilogy, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, The Goonies and more will be signing autographs and taking photos. Costumes encouraged!

When: June 3-5
Cost: $40-85
Where: Wolf Trap, 1551 Trap Rd, Vienna, VA 22182
Online: tinybeans.com

Movie Mania
Being the Capital of the free world, it’s no surprise that Washington, DC itself plays a staring role in so many blockbusters. Check out this list of iconic movie locations throughout the city where some of your favorite movies were filmed. You will find spots from Wonder Woman: 1984, Independence Day and more. Costumes optional as you explore the list.

Online: hotels.com

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20 Best ’80s Movies to Watch with Your Kids

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Warning: These Classic Movies Include Racist Stereotypes

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