You could spend another morning at the playground with your kids. Or you could rediscover their favorite Dr. Seuss books at an interactive experience in Tysons Corner Center, which opened this month and recreates nine famous stories.
Walk in the entrance next to Barnes & Noble (there is plenty of stroller parking!) and behold a world full of familiar characters ready to meet-and-greet and take pictures with you. You might run into the Cat in the Hat or Thing 1 and Thing 2! I saw quite a few kids giggling, delighted at seeing their favorite storybook characters come alive. My almost-2-year-old, on the other hand, burst into tears upon seeing an employee dressed as the Cat in the Hat. “Big! BIG!”
I quickly led him away to the mirrored carousel, the centerpiece of the experience inspired by If I Ran the Circus: “Ooh! Look how shiny!” It truly is a work of art, decorated with lights, illustrations, and rhymes. Unfortunately, it, too, was a bit big for my son’s age and height.
Next, we tried the How the Grinch Stole Christmas! station, where kids can go “fishing” for presents with provided metal rods. This entertained him somewhat, although the hooked rod was a bit big and awkward for him to hold.
We quickly moved on to Herbie Hart’s Thom-dim-bu-lator from Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are? Now, that he loved: It brought out the little engineer in him. He gleefully played with tiny fuzzy balls and watched them get sucked up, up, and up into a colorful tube and get released into the air.
The mirror maze based on The Sneetches also turned out to be a hit with my toddler, although be warned: There are lots of flashing lights so it may not be for those who are photosensitive, and it may not be suitable if you experience claustrophobia. You could actually get lost in there, and it’s hard to tell whether you’re about to walk through a mirror, so I would hold on to your small kids.
Once we were out of the maze, it was time for two more experiential rooms. We strolled through giant fake clovers from Horton Hears A Who! (A big hit with the toddler crowd since they were fuzzy and fun to play hide-and-seek in.)
We ended with more fuzzy-topped faux plants: A larger room is dedicated to The Lorax, Dr. Seuss’ classic with an environmental message. There, kids can swing from the “truffula trees” — and adults can forget that we’re at Tysons Corner for just a few minutes.
Overall, this is the perfect way to spend an hour or two with kids, especially those who are already steeped in Seuss lore. They will love watching their favorite books come to life. It’s also designed in such a way that you’re not spending too long on any one activity, which is great for kids’ shorter attention spans. For younger toddlers, there are some worthwhile sensory experiences even if they don’t “get” that it’s Dr. Seuss yet. (And a gift shop — we found a Green Eggs and Ham sticker book, which entertained my son for a solid 10 minutes!)
Be aware that there are no food or bathrooms available inside the experience. (The food court on level three of the mall has everything you need, including a kids’ play area, a cute mini train to ride, and an ice cream vending machine.) The experience is open Wednesday through Sunday, with general admission tickets starting at $34 for those 13 and older and $29 for children between the ages of 1 and 12. Children must be accompanied by an adult.
7852U Tysons Corner Center, Tysons
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