Next Best Thing to a Willy Wonka Museum

With all the buzz that surrounded the opening last year of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, it's easy to forget that Roald Dahl was the mastermind behind the fantastical world of Wonka. Fortunately, a museum devoted to the children's writer has opened its doors for business. The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre, which honors both Dahl and the many characters from his famous fables, is located 20 miles northwest of London, in Great Missenden.

In addition to exhibits on his life and work, the museum has more than a few design details inspired by Dahl's books, like faux chocolate doors (right) that actually smell like chocolate.

One gallery includes a detailed timeline of Dahl's life and gives visitors a chance to browse an extensive collection of the author's personal papers as well as an electronic archive of his "Ideas Book." The museum will keep one gallery available for temporary exhibits. The first exhibit showcases photos the author took while serving in the Middle East during WWII.

Kids will probably be more interested in the museum's participatory elements. Kids can climb into a huge BFG dream bottle (below) to try their hand at making shadow puppets. For inspiration, budding authors can head to a replica of Dahl's famous "Writing Hut," which rests in an outdoor orchard detailed with huge artworks by Quentin Blake, the illustrator of several Dahl books. Interactive games and bookcases are interspersed throughout the trees.

Tickets are f3.50 for children ages 3-18 and a family ticket can be purchased good for the admission of 2 adults and up to 3 children for f15. It's recommended that you book tickets in advance by calling 01494 892192 or by following the directions on the center's website. ---Katie Hamlin

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