Am I the only one that didn't know that there is a Madame Tussauds Wax Museum in Washington, D.C.? I was so excited when I saw this post on Kid Trips' Facebook page about a new behind the scenes educational seminar that they are offering this summer.You can read my informational review of it on Kid Trips here. Read further if you are interested in my personal review. :)
Courtesy of Madame Tussuads Washington D.C.
I called and talked to Ashley Robinson, Marketing, Promotions, and Social Media Specialist, to find out more and to register for the seminar. She was very friendly and was very patient with all of my questions.
To prep my girls for the trip, we looked at pictures of some of the figures online, focusing mostly on the historical ones. The figures are VERY life-like and I didn't want the girls (especially Love Bug since she's only two years old) to get freaked out or anything when we got to the museum. I explained to them that we were going to see statues that looked like real people and that this was a special museum because we were going to be able to touch things there.
I had invited my sister and a mommy friend and her children to be part of the experience with us. Papa Bear was also able to join us.
We decided driving was the best way for us to get there. It was a bit of a trek from Prince William County to Washington, D.C. especially given that the tour started at 10:30 a.m. I was thankful that I had reserved parking online the night before and that the parking garage was right across the street from the museum. They even had valet parking!
The back of the museum.
We were all very excited about our "Behind the Scenes" seminar. We took a potty break (the bathrooms were very nice I must say!) and everything was going great until I realized I had left my wallet at home! So, so thankful that Papa Bear had come because I didn't have any money or I.D. with me. Once we figured that all out, it was time for the tour to begin. They have an elevator, so the museum is definitely stroller-friendly.
Our guide, Joanna Hobday, led us through the museum and jokingly told us not to peek at the exhibits as she led us into a private room. The room was set up with chairs and a table with props for the discussion. We started off with a "real or wax" quiz. It is amazing how life-like the figures are! Then, Joanna told us how the figures are made and what they are made out of. I always thought the entire figure was made of wax, but it is actually just the head. The body is made of fiberglass. This is just one of the many facts you will learn on your "Behind the Scenes" seminar. We got to touch pieces of wax and other props. Love Bug was a bit shy, but enjoyed holding an eyeball (which was eerily real-looking) from the prop table. Sweet Girl enjoyed the seminar, but held her nose the entire time as the room we were in had just recently been painted. (Gotta love kids and their honesty!)
The tour was the perfect length--about half an hour. Everyone was engaged. We had fun guessing who was real and who was wax, examining the props up close and getting to ask Joanna questions. She talked to the children as well as the adults and made sure to involve everyone in the room. I wish we could've taken Joanna around with us as we toured the museum!
It was so neat to get to learn so much in such a private setting before we actually toured the museum, especially since this was everyone's first visit to Madame Tussauds. I don't want to give away all the fun facts we learned, so if you are curious and want to know more, plan on attending a "Behind the Scenes" seminar with your family!
Joanna quizzing us on "real or wax" with photos.
Notice how one side of the face is completed?
Joanna teaching us so many interesting facts!
After the seminar, we were free to tour the museum at our leisure. We started off with a couple of short videos on the history of Madame Tussaud the person and why she started making wax figures in the first place. Then, we followed the process of how the Beyonce figure was created. After that, it was off to the President's Gallery.
I love how the presidents are arranged in chronological order. You can interact with every president. Many of them have props like period-style coats or chairs where you can sit down with the presidents and other historical figures. I was surprised to see how tall (and short!) a number of the presidents were. There are other interactive parts to the exhibit as well such as trivia questions on the front of picture frames with the answers hidden behind them. At the end of the Presidents Gallery you can pay to have your picture taken in the Oval Office, at the Press Podium or with the Obamas.
President James Monroe.
Stopping for a meeting with Robert E. Lee.
Interactive picture frames.
One of my favorite parts was when I came to a bus seat that had a sign that said sit down and see what it was like for Rosa Parks on the bus. I don't want to give it away, but I was definitely surprised at what happened next. Sweet Girl tried it out, too.
Sweet Girl "on the bus" experiencing what Rosa Parks did when she wouldn't move to the back of the bus.
Another favorite part was how gently Love Bug would go up to the figures and touch their hands and clothes. I kept telling her they were statues, but the hands really seemed to intrique her. I also loved watching the girls crawl on the "moon" and Sweet Girl holding the American flag on the moon. Precious moments to remember!
Love Bug kept touching Marion Barry's hands and watch.
Love Bug holding President Reagan's hand.
Next, was the “Behind the Scenes” section where we got to see a wax figure of Madame Tussaud herself. The walls are covered with facts about how the wax figures are made and there is even a video playing. This is also where your family can immortalize their hands in wax. We had free vouchers since we did the "Bringing History to Life" Behind the Scenes seminar. Sweet Girl tried it, but just couldn't keep her hand still enough. At least she was brave enough to try! She said she wants to try again next time. I ended up making a wax hand and Sweet Girl chose for it to be blue. My sister and friend also made one. We had quite a crowd watching us as the lady who worked there helped us. She was so sweet and patient and was very good at her job. We all ended up buying the recommended preservation kit ($3.00) to preserve our wax hands.
After Sweet Girl got lotion on her hand and kept it in ice cold water for 20 seconds, it was time for the wax!
Back into the ice cold water. The next trip to the wax was when she moved and the wax cracked.
My wax hand getting dyed blue. The wax is clear/white before dying it.
The next section was fun for everyone because we were able to compare our hands, feet, and eye color with numerous historic figures and celebrities. Have you ever wondered if your feet are bigger than Jennifer Lopez's or how your hands measure up to Evander Holyfield? Here's your chance to find out!
I love how hands-on everything is! The footprints are on the floor.
Next was the Glamour, Music and Sports sections. The children didn't seem as interested in these areas. There aren't as many props and the children just didn't know who the people were. It was fun to sit with George Clooney, walk with The Beatles, kick it with Michael Jackson and say hi to Babe Ruth.
That is my hand George Clooney is holding. I'm not shy, Sweet Girl stayed so close to me that this is what was left of the photo after I cropped it. And yes, those are Beyonce's legs in the background.
My sister kicking it with the King of Pop.
The tour ends in the gift shop where we picked up our wax hands and preservation kits. It was so nice not to have to carry those around as we finished our tour. We got the girls a snack (they have a wall full of bulk candy and snacks) and headed back upstairs where we saw a couple more figures before exiting.
I can not believe how much fun we all had!! I would say that Madame Tussuads Wax Museum is geared towards older children, but everyone seemed to have fun in his/her own way. Little hands keep busy since you can touch practically everything in the museum. Older children will be able to do more of the reading on their own and will probably know more of the popular figures.
Madame Tussauds Washington D.C. gets three new figures a month, so the arrangement is always changing. The Beatles, for example, are there for the summer. At any given time they have about 100 figures in the museum. Needless to say, this is not a "ho-hum" type of museum!
So, if you are looking for a fun, educational experience that you can do indoors this summer, I highly suggest you sign up for one of the educational seminars hosted by Madame Tussauds Washington D.C. We had so much fun that I am going to put together a field trip for a play group that I have recently joined.
Me and my sister with the Beatles.
I received complimentary tickets to review the venue for Kid Trips, however I was not was not asked to write this post or compensated to do so. All opinions are my own.
**All photos and text are property of Angela Pounders and can not be distributed without permission.
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