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I was quite unprepared for the gasps of pleasant surprise as my fellow passengers and I exited the elevator to the top floor of Madame Tussauds Wax Museum in New York City's Times Square.
I heard lots of Wow!s and Oh my! as we looked down from the balcony into the VIP Club where we were about to join a Hollywood party already in progress.
Read more about my visit or go directly to the end to purchase tickets.
A dimly lit club environment recreated an opening night party in an Italian baroque garden populated with well known stars such as Woody Allen, Hugh Grant, Oprah Winfrey and Robin Williams. Music, scattered conversation and laughter complete the illusion.
Julia Roberts was there, of course, and even Elton John. Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt were happy to pose for and with us as were many others.
We spent as much time as we wanted posing with our favorite, amazingly lifelike, celebrities as we worked our way back to street level a floor at a time.
A veritable United Nations of politicians and religious leaders greeted us on one level.
It was amazing how well everyone got along. Mahatma Gandhi, the Pope and the Dali Lama were standing together while Abraham Lincoln, Richard Nixon, George W. Bush and Hillary Clinton were all in the same room with Diana, Princess of Wales.
Past and present sports, television and movie personalities were well represented from Babe Ruth and Mikhail Barishnikov to Janis Joplin, Marilyn Monroe, John Wayne and Neil Armstrong. Johnny Depp was available to pose with you in his full Pirates of the Caribbean costume as Captain Jack Sparrow.
Captains of industry Ted Turner, Bill Gates and Donald Trump were in no hurry to get back to work but Rachael Ray was in her kitchen which was detailed down to food (fake) in the refrigerator.
Lucille Ball, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers, James Dean and Charlie Chaplin each had their own themed display area.
Sets, costumes and, especially, the nearly 200 wax faces are well designed and maintained. If you go you may find yourself mistaking a wax figure for real.
Madame Tussauds History
Born Marie Grosholz in Strasbourg in 1761, the eventual Madame Tussaud married Fançois Tussaud in 1795. By then she had learned the art of wax modeling from her mother's employer Dr. Philippe Curtius, modeled Voltaire and been an art tutor to the sister of King Louis XVI while living at the royal court in Versailles.
After many years touring with her collection Madame Tussauds found a permanent home in London in 1835. Moved to its present location on Marlebone Road by her grandson, Madame Tussauds suffered near disaster from a fire that gutted the building in 1925 and again from a German bomb in 1940.
By 1971 Madame Tussauds had expanded into Amsterdam. Madame Tussauds opened in Las Vegas in 1999 and New York and Hong Kong in 2000.
Interactive attractions that include the guests in the action were first introduced in 2002.
If you plan to visit the Times Square neighborhood in Manhattan Madame Tussauds is a place the whole family will enjoy. In addition to posing with the various figures you can get in on the action in a number of ways with Usher, Beyoncé and Simon Cowell. You may even be able to make Jennifer Lopez blush. Those brave enough can enter the Chamber with figures from 'House of Wax'.
DJ with Usher dance and mix music alongside the megastar R&B artist in a virtual music studio setting.
Movie Star Experience audition for a blockbuster movie with Will Smith.
Pirates of the Caribbean Step into the Black Pearl with Captain Jack Sparrow.
Dance with Beyoncé Professional dancers teach you to dance like the megastar.
Chamber Live! Join Paris Hilton in Ambrose at the House of Wax. Will you get out alive?
American Idol® Simon Cowell will give his honest opinion of your performance.
A&E Biography You are the biography of the year on the red carpet with A&E Biography.
Can you make J.Lo blush? Would a kiss do it? Maybe something whispered in her ear?
Madame Tussauds New York is located at 234 West 42nd Street (between 7th and 8th Avenues) in the heart of Times Square.
Attraction entrance: Adult only $33.00, Child (7–12) only $30.00
Save by combining a ticket to Madame Tussauds with an Open Loop — All City Loops tour, which includes unlimited rides on Downtown, Midtown and Uptown routes with a Night tour. Choose from 1, 2, 3 or 5 day packages.
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Website and all photos copyright © 2001–2016 Lee W. Nelson