UPPER EAST SIDE — Like Harry Potter on his first day at Hogwarts, you can experience a world of magic through a new immersive tour at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Visitors can spot mythical creatures, Hogwarts-style staircases and items that look like tools used in the "Wizarding World," including swords and objects that could be horcruxes, explained Upper West Sider Evan Levy, who operates the tours.
Levy and her team of trained tour guides take children and adults through The Met on a journey to seek out the most Harry Potter-like details — from architecture to artwork and artifacts — for a tour that isn't as much about the art as it is the experience, she said.
"The Met is a big stone building with lots of corridors and secret rooms," she told DNAinfo New York. "There's part of a castle in The Met, and we can compare it to the castle in Harry Potter. There are balconies and staircases that are very similar — it's like Hogwarts when you walk in. When you walk around the room, you can see mythical creatures carved into the archways.
"It's an experience," she added.
The tours, called "Griffins, Goblets, and Gold," are held on Saturdays, Sundays and after school during the week. They take anywhere from an hour-and-a-half to two hours and are meant to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the publication of the first Potter book by J.K. Rowling, "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone."
"Harry Potter is a great way to get kids interested in anything," Levy said.
The tours aren't just for children though. Levy said she can accommodate any age group and tailor the experience, like talking more about the concept of magic, fate and the ability to choose your own destiny, for example. Dressing up is always encouraged.
The theme is just one of a number of events and giveaways Levy is planning as part of "Wizarding Month" leading up to the last weekend in July, when Harry Potter and his friend Neville Longbottom have birthdays.
A second Harry Potter tour will start on July 15 and focus on Rowling's "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them," which will take tourists from The Met to the American Museum of Natural History.
Levy, who has two children of her own, started her tours four years ago when she wanted to host events primarily focused on kids and families, but organized in a way that hadn't been done before, she said.
Each of her walks is based on a children's books or literature, like another Met tour based on "From The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler" and tours of Central Park using "Ever After: A Fairy Tale Tour of Central Park" and "Literary Legends: A Central Park Tour."
"When my kids were little, I began to think there was a need or a missed opportunity for experiences that were more immersive and experiential, that were more than just walking around and looking at art and doing a Q&A," she said. "The hook is the whole experience, not just saying, 'Here's a work of art that resembles something from 'Harry Potter.' It's more experiential."
A public tour is offered at $25 for kids and $35 for adults. Those who want a private tour pay $35 per child and $45 per adult. For more information, visit etccustomevents.com.