“Oh, the places you’ll go!” The Dr. Seuss Experience is making its worldwide debut this weekend. The new interactive space will let visitors immerse themselves in the magical and whimsical world created by Dr. Seuss.
The creation and implementation of the interactive experience has been a long time coming. Susan Brandt, president of Dr. Seuss Enterprises, originally came up with the concept.
“I had seen some of these experiential exhibitions, and I thought you know, those would be perfect for Seuss,” said Brandt. “They break the rules, in terms of what an exhibition is, you can create an immersive experience, you can enter worlds. I thought that would be perfect for our property.”
The exhibit brings different Dr. Seuss books to life in five interactive rooms dedicated to each story. There’s a room for Horton Hears a Who; Oh, The Places You’ll Go!; How The Grinch Stole Christmas! and more.
The How The Grinch Stole Christmas! room encourages children to work together in teams to complete a game. The Lorax room offers visitors a tempting choice, while illustrating the pitfalls of climate change.
The interactive Cat In The Hat room features a robotic cat that can actually talk back!
And a tiny, almost-hidden room in honour of something is bigger than it appears on first glance, but you’ll have to visit for yourself to truly experience the magic.
The groundbreaking children’s book author known as Dr.Seuss, whose real name was Theodor Geisel, incorporated serious adult themes such as climate change into his books, which continues in the installation. Brandt said it was very important to the creators to carry those themes over to the exhibit. “Ted Geisel was a genius. He was able to weave life lessons in his books in such a way that children did not even realize they were learning, and that’s such a part of the essence of Seuss that we knew it had to be a part of this as well, or it wouldn’t feel authentic to the books.”
Max Painter, the artistic director, was concerned about the many different themes in the various books. “We’ve tried to make the experience interactive. We’ve tried to make them stunning visually, but also tried to make sure there’s a meaning.” he said. “That the meanings of the books are conveyed somehow.”
The minds behind the experience hope that it’s accessible to people of all ages.
“[Dr. Seuss] is ageless,” said Brandt. “We’re a preschool property, because kids learn to read with us. But because we’ve been a part of so many childhoods and they’ve grown up with us, we have fans literally of all ages.”
That timelessness and inclusivity was a huge part of the design process. “A lot of attractions really try to cater to one either demographic or one age range but we don’t think that way” notes Painter. “We really wanted to try and make something that’s got things for everyone. Dr. Seuss has been around for 50 years. People know it from their own childhood. [..] we don’t want to narrow it down.”
The world premiere of The Dr. Seuss Experience is set for Saturday, Oct. 26 at Square One. The exhibit will run until Jan. 5, 2020. Get tickets here.