"Harry Potter"-themed tours come to three Long Island museums this...

"Harry Potter"-themed tours come to three Long Island museums this summer. Credit: United Archives GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo

Harry Potter’s birthday is July 31, and three museums in the Town of Huntington are throwing a joint celebration for the fictional character on various dates from July 25 through Aug. 4.

Each museum will be offering a different activity — between the three, visitors will experience a Mirror of Erised (that’s “desire” spelled backward), some fantastic beasts at “Mr. Vanderbilt’s Fantastic Creatures and Where to Find Them,” and a magical Marauder’s Map (“We solemnly swear you’ll have a great time,” quips Heather Famiglietti, event and media director at the Walt Whitman Birthplace).

See a black cauldron, potions class bottles and a "Mirror of...

See a black cauldron, potions class bottles and a "Mirror of Erised" at Long Island museums during "Harry Potter"-inspired tours. Credit: Walt Whitman Birthplace

The Cold Spring Harbor Whaling Museum in Cold Spring Harbor, Walt Whitman Birthplace in Huntington Station and Vanderbilt Museum and Planetarium in Centerport typically meet monthly to discuss common issues. “This came out of a brainstorming session,” says Nomi Dayan, executive director of the Cold Spring Harbor Whaling Museum. The museums thought it would be a fun event for families that could present their collections in a new light, she says. “We’re looking at our collection through the lens of ‘Harry Potter’ fans,” Dayan says.

Here's what each museum is offering and the dates of their respective activities. All the events are free with museum admission.

Cold Spring Harbor Whaling Museum

Polyjuice Potion scavenger hunts and Butterbeer lattes

The Whaling Museum is planning a themed, self-guided scavenger hunt for objects within the museum collection. For instance, the hunt will feature the museum’s try pot, which is a big, black pot. “They would cook whale blubber and out would come whale oil used for illumination,” Dayan says. “But it also looks like a giant witch’s cauldron.”

Visitors will also be led to old bottles that look like they could hold Polyjuice Potion, the concoction that allowed characters in the books and movies to impersonate the body of another, and portraits reminiscent of the ones that move from frame to frame in the halls of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, she says. Kids will also create an owl mask to take home, using feathers, Dayan says.

Sweetie Pie’s on Main, at 181 Main St. in Cold Spring Harbor’s village, is offering a Butterbeer latte in conjunction with the event, says owner Judy Hogan. “It’s going to be a sweet drink,” she says, most likely with caramel flavoring. A hot small will start at $4.50, and iced small starts at $5.25. Kids can order decaf, Hogan says.

July 25 through Aug. 5; museum is open daily except Mondays; $8, $6 for children ages 4 to 17; 301 Main St., Cold Spring Harbor, 631-367-3418, cshwhalingmuseum.org

Walt Whitman Birthplace

Hogwarts garb encouraged 

This is the home where Walt Whitman was born, and it features a statue of him. “Come to think of it, Walt does look suspiciously like Dumbledore, doesn’t he?” reads the promo for the event. The museum will feature “the real Leaky Cauldron”; in the books, the Leaky Cauldron was a pub and the museum plays on that title by featuring a real cauldron, Famiglietti says. It will have its own Mirror of Erised — the mirror that reflects a user's deepest desires — and a Vanishing Cabinet, Famiglietti says. In the books, if a person entered one Vanishing Cabinet, he or she would reappear in another cabinet at a different location. The visitors will be led through by a tour guide, be able to ask questions as they take the tour and get a certificate of completion at the end.

The museum is also trying to encourage poetry — Whitman was a poet and writer, after all, and Harry Potter is a literary character, Famiglietti says. So, kids (and adults) are invited to write an original poem related to "Harry Potter" and bring it to the museum to be displayed, Famiglietti says. Visitors are encouraged to dress in their Hogwarts finest.

11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., July 24 to 30; $8, 15 and younger free with an adult; 246 Old Walt Whitman Rd., Huntington Station, 631-427-5240, waltwhitman.org

Vanderbilt Museum

Spiders, beasts and the Marauder’s Map

Visitors to the Vanderbilt will get a copy of a hand-drawn Marauder’s Map of the property, which Potter fans know is used to track others' whereabouts in the castle whenever mischievous students solemnly swear they are up to no good and want to avoid being caught by professors. “It’s got that antique look,” says Beth Laxer-Limmer, associate director of education for the museum.

The map will bring visitors to see “Mr. Vanderbilt’s Fantastic Creatures and Where to Find Them,” a play on the fantastic beasts that wander the wizard world and the "Fantastic Beasts" film series. They’ll visit creatures in the museum’s animal diorama area and in the marine animal area. Creatures will include, of course, a tarantula (remember how scared Ron Weasley was of spiders?), which can throw stinging hairs if threatened, and other venomous beasts that can camouflage or maybe even release a foul odor when faced with enemies, Laxer-Limmer says.

10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Aug. 1 to 4; $10 per adult, children younger than 12 are $7, 180 Little Neck Rd., Centerport, 631-854-5579, vanderbiltmuseum.org


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