When I was growing up, Wizard of Oz was broadcast on television once every year. I, and every kid I knew, looked forward to the day that Dorothy would end up in the land of Munchkins and journey to Emerald City. Along her journey, Dorothy worked her way into our hearts as she faced fearful obstacles and made new friends. So, today, when I find that our travels are taking us near a Wizard of Oz attraction, it immediately goes on our itinerary. Here are three that we’ve enjoy over the past few years:
Judy Garland Museum
Grand Rapids, Minnesota
Judy Garland starred as Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. She was born Frances Gumm in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, where she lived with her parents and two older sisters until the family moved to Los Angeles when she was about four or five years old. Today, her birth home is open for tours, along with an adjacent museum that highlights both Judy Garland’s career and the Wizard of Oz movie.
Dorothy’s House and Land of Oz
When businessman Max Zimmerman attended a convention in California, he went to dinner wearing his name tag. The name tag included his home city of Liberty, Kansas. A waitress noticed and mentioned she had never been to Kansas. When asked what he thought she might see in Kansas, she replied, “Dorothy’s house.” That started the ball rolling on what today is a guided tour, led by Dorothy, through her home and down the yellow brick road, complete with all of Dorothy’s encounters, to Emerald City. The tour ends in a museum with Wizard of Oz artifacts and memorabilia.
Make your way down the yellow brick road through the Oz Museum. Along the way, exhibits tell the Wizard of Oz story through both dioramas and over 2,000 artifacts and memorabilia. The Wizard of Oz movie plays in a theater, and videos throughout the museum tell backstories of the making of the movie. An extensive gift shop sells everything from ruby slippers to a complete collection of L. Frank Baum’s Oz books.
While there, be sure to check out the Yellow Brick Road directly across the street. An alley, about a half-block long, is paved with yellow bricks and is flanked by buildings painted with murals that also tell the Wizard of Oz story.
Video: 3 Museums for Wizard of Oz Fans
This video describes in more detail the three Wizard of Oz themed museums we’ve mentioned.
Wizard of Oz DVD
The Wizard of Oz is one of the few movie DVDs that we own. It’s one of those movies that can be watched over and over again. Our grandkids have enjoyed it, too. Buy it on Amazon here.