So the other day my friend Jenn and I took a roadtrip to Seattle. Since we live in Portland, this wasn't an incredibly wacky undertaking -- totally doable, really -- it's just that neither of us had ever done it by ourselves before. Seattle is a big city. I have a penchant for getting lost while driving, especially in big cities. I can imagine it's probably pretty easy to get lost in Seattle ("hey, didn't we just pass this?" "no, that was one of the other 5,291 Starbuckses.") But luckily, we had a few things going for us -- one, Jenn had a GPS, and two, I spent three months in Seattle a few years back... and if there's one thing I learned from that experience, it's this: If you can find the Space Needle, you can find the Pacific Science Center. Which, it just so happens, was our destination.
For the past few months, the PSC has been hosting a Harry Potter exhibit. The exhibit has been all over the country, and Seattle was its last traveling stop. So, yeah, I'm a big fan Harry Potter. Not Big McLargehuge, but still pretty big. I don't go to the movies on opening night, nor have I ever worn a costume to a book premier party... however, I did get books #4-7 on release day. And I've read them all multiple times. And... I doubt you care. Okay, moving on, all I'm saying is I Love Teh Potter, and so I wanted to go to this.
And since so many other people had the same idea, everyone had to purchase tickets with a specific entry time stamped on them. We got 11:15. At the designated time, were herded into a building with about 40 other people. Three volunteers were selected to be sorted by the noble Sorting Hat. Two Gryffindors and a Hufflepuff later, we entered the exhibit area.
It was a walkthrough exhibit, full of props, costumes, posters, and pieces of scenery from the movies. Some notable pieces included: Harry's four-poster bed (which looked alarmingly tiny), that giant creepy clown from the third movie, and the sorcerer's stone, which looked just as shiny and rubyesque as it did in the first Potter film.
The costumes were less impressive -- having all been worn, and, perhaps, because they'd already been moved/displayed so many times, they looked pretty faded and sad. Even so, it was pretty neat to be able to stand next to a headless mannequin wearing a "Harry Potter Year 1" costume, and then, a few minutes later, stand next to one for Year 7, and realizing how much Daniel Racliffe really changed in that time span. (We were commenting on how it didn't seem like it had indeed been 10 years. But yikes. So it had.) And, of course, there was the outfit worn by one Mr. Robert Pattinson in movie #4, which we could not help but swoon over. ahem.
The walkthrough's exit led right into a gift shop (surprise!) full of mostly-over-priced Harry Potter merchandise. We both agreed that a $170 tiny Triwizard Cup replica just wasn't in our budget, nor was a $50 sweatshirt or a $45 hat. And so we left, exited into the sunlight (such as it is in Seattle this time of year), and spent the next few hours having Potter-less fun around the PSC and the Seattle Center. We walked through a butterfly pavilion, watched banana taffy being pulled, and wandered by a creepy, abandoned amusement park.
Accio money bin full of gold!
In the end, I'm not convinced the Harry Potter exhibit was entirely worth the trip and the ticket price ($30 each for that and admission to the PCS, plus about $40 for gas and $15 for parking), but roadtripping with a friend can not be beat. Those five hours in Seattle were fun, and we can now proudly say we've driven there and back by ourselves. An impressive feat indeed. (You know, if you're easily impressed.)