Destination Oz

The Road Less Traveled

When I was a little girl, I read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. I loved it. Since then, I have shared the stories with my children. In fact, the first time my daughter remembers seeing the movie was during the 75th Anniversary at The IMAX Theater at Marbles Kids Museum. It was just her and me for a girl's night out and it was truly magical.

So, while I know there is no place like home, should you ever go looking for your heart's desire in a place called Oz, here's my picks of where to go.

1. The National Museum of American History - Washington, DC


So if I were you, I'd start at The Smithsonian where you'll find The Ruby Slippers worn by Judy Garland in the 1939 classic movie. The last day to see them before they are removed for a significant period of time to be studied, stabilized, and preserved is Sunday, April 23, 2017. The Scarecrow's Hat and Boots are also on display here.

2. The Land of Oz - Beech Mountain, NC

Yes. In the North Carolina mountains there is an Oz theme park. Developers broke ground on the theme park in 1968 and opened it two years later at a cost of 5 million dollars. In fact, Debbie Reynolds cut the opening day ribbon, as her daughter Carrie Fisher stood by her side. Over the next ten years the park suffered a fire, a burglary in which several movie props and costumes were stolen, and costly wear and tear, and in 1980, the park closed. Today, the park is open just a couple of times a year for special events. This summer the park will be open for its Journey with Dorothy event (dates TBA) and in the fall, usually around September, the park will be open for its annual Autumn at Oz event.

3. Coronado, California

L. Frank Baum wrote three of the Oz books in Coronado. Here you can see the home he rented while staying here to write the books, The Wizard of Oz Glass Exhibit at The Coronado Public Library, and The Hotel del Coronado (which was the inspiration for The Emerald City). In fact, Baum designed four crown shaped chandeliers for the hotel's ballroom (below).

For pictures of the house where Baum wrote the first three books, check out Richard Schulte's blog about San Diego.

4. Wamego, Kansas

From the books to the movie to the Broadway musical Wicked, here you can check out the largest collection of Oz memorabilia in the world at The Oz Museum. In fact, you may want to plan your visit for October 7, 2017, when Wamego's downtown will be transformed into Oz for it's annual Oztoberfest celebration.

5.  Dorothy's House - Liberal, Kansas

So, where else would you find Dorothy Gale's house? Of course you would find it in Kansas (about five hours from Wamego), which is what I suppose the developers of this attraction were thinking when they restored a house built in 1907 to reflect Dorothy's farmhouse from the famous movie. Here you will find unique movie memorabilia, an animated exhibit, and can meet Dorothy herself.

And of course, don't forget to pack your Wonderful Wizard of Oz clutch wallet (below). After all, it is large enough to carry all your essentials, while small enough to throw into a carry on, or strap on to your broomstick, whichever you prefer.


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