Ava Benedikt, 7, and Ben Sarowitz, 8, look at one...

Ava Benedikt, 7, and Ben Sarowitz, 8, look at one of the many exhibits at the "Harry Potter" exhibition at Discovery Times Square in Manhattan. (April 9, 2011) Credit: Michael Nagle

The boy who lived, first in books, then movies and even in a Florida theme park, has a new magical home — Times Square.

Harry Potter: The Exhibition” is not for ordinary Muggles (and if you don’t recognize the word, that would be you). If, however, you loved the books and films, the exhibit is a portkey to the world behind the movie scenes.

Unlike the replicas of the “Wizarding World” in Orlando, the exhibition showcases more than 200 carefully preserved props, costumes and set pieces — some as small as Hermione’s Yule Ball earrings and Quidditch’s Golden Snitch, others as large as the Hungarian Horntail dragon’s head and Buckbeak the Hippogriff, with its tens of thousands of hand-painted feathers.

Fans in love with the characters dreamed up by J.K. Rowling will find one emotional connection after another — the Sorting Hat, Dobby the house elf, Harry’s glasses, Ron Weasley’s horrid dress robes, Luna Lovegood’s quirky sneakers, Professor Dumbledore’s phoenix and Hagrid’s magical umbrella.

SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE

A major challenge for Global Experience Specialists, the company Warner Bros. brought in to stage the exhibition, was to make it work for fans of all ages.

So while there are plenty of “Please Do Not Touch” warnings, a sign next to Hagrid’s humongous chair invites visitors to have a seat. And they do, including a family of four who snuggled up in it Saturday. Like each term at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the tour begins with a Sorting Hat ceremony starring a few excited visitors. There’s an interactive herbology class exercise and the chance to toss a Quidditch ball through goalposts.

The real magic, though, is in the artistry and craftsmanship of the production designers. You can see coins engraved with the word “Gringotts” or read documents that might have appeared on-screen for mere seconds — Harry’s invitation to Hogwarts, a sign-up sheet for a student trip to Hogsmeade, copies of the Daily Prophet and Quibbler. You can even read the questions on a Theory of Charms final exam.

Because tickets are sold for specific times, no more than 50 to 75 visitors are wandering through the more than 14,000 square feet of the exhibit at one time, said Eddie Newquist, Global Experience’s chief creative officer. “Grab your wands and cloaks,” he said, and whether you take an hour or 90 minutes is up to you.

IS IT WORTH IT?
 

If you’re not rolling in Galleons, the adult price of admission (25 Muggle dollars) may seem steep. There’s an LIRR package that can save you as much as 40 percent on tickets and transportation (mta.info/lirr). But the answer really depends on how much of a fan you are. The tour ends, as you might expect, in the gift shop, where the prices of wands, wizard’s robes and swords make the admission fee look like a bargain. There’s a wizard’s chess set for $499.99, and, yes, someone bought one the other day.
After stops in Chicago, Boston, Toronto and Seattle, the exhibition opened in Times Square last week with, for the first time, items from the final film (opening in July). When it closes Sept. 5, it heads off to Europe. So, if you’re wild about Harry, check out the LIRR package and spring for the $7 audio tour remote control, which offers great commentary on the exhibit. (Who knew how hard it was to find Harry Potter glasses that actor Daniel Radcliffe wasn’t allergic to?) And when you hit the gift shop, take a longing look at the wizard’s chess set. Then treat yourself to a $4.34 chocolate frog.

WHATHarry Potter: The Exhibition”

WHEN | WHERE Daily, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., through Sept. 5. Discovery Times Square, 226 W. 44th St., between Seventh and Eighth avenues
ADMISSION $25 adults, $19.50 ages 4 to 12 (younger than 4, free), plus a $1 facility fee and sales tax. Parking and LIRR discounts are available.
INFO 866-987-9692; discoveryts.com

BOTTOM LINE If you’re wild about “Harry,” don’t miss it.

Latest Videos