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The world of monsters and super powers found in Rick Riordan’s immensely popular The Lightning Thief has kids gobbling up the 5-book series and filling movie theaters for the blockbuster sequel, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters. Why not take advantage of the interest to sneak in a little learning too?
The Lightning Thief at the Metropolitan Museum
BEFORE: 1) Download the Percy Jackson & The Olympians Art Adventure for a colorful lesson plan exploring Greek Mythology at the Met. (The free booklet is worth checking out even if you can’t visit NYC.) 2) Listen to a podcast interview of Rick Riordan in a Met Episode for Families. 3) Review our Metropolitan Museum Tips.
AT THE MET: Start your tour where the story begins–in the Greek and Roman Art collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Using the map and book quotes mentioned in the Met’s Art Adventure, kids are asked to seek out the characters that Percy encounters on his quest. Along the way, they learn about Greek history, culture, and mythology shown in the details of the terracotta urns, metalworks, and marble sculptures.
Since you’re already at the Met, consider passing through two other exhibits that kids love: the Temple of Dendur and Egyptian mummies; and the Arms and Armor collection. Both are featured in Met Museum Family Guides.
Sweeten the Lightning Thief Lesson Plan
Since Percy’s mom worked in a candy store, a Lightning Thief NYC Tour would not be complete without a stop at the biggest and best candy store in the world, Dylan’s Candy Bar. I recommend stocking up at the candy store before heading to the Empire State Building, so as to sweeten the trials of waiting in what are often some of the longest lines in the city. (For a complete list of our favorite Manhattan sweets, check out 15 Irresistible New York City Treats.)
Travel Tip – Dylan’s is 20 blocks(approx. 1 mile) from the Met, but that can seem like an unbearably long walk with little kids or in frigid weather. Consider catching a cab from the lineup on the Met steps. Near Dylan’s, you can get on the subway at 59th and Lexington to travel to the 34th Street/Penn Station stop near the Empire State Building.
The Lightning Thief at the Empire State Building
Unlike Percy Jackson, you might not gain access to Mount Olympus from the Empire State Building’s 600th floor. But when the wind blows, the 102nd Floor Observatory is exciting enough. And the photo-worthy view of the Manhattan can’t be beat. 350 Fifth Avenue, between 33rd and 34th Streets.
Travel Tip – Climbing to Mount Olympus (or even just the top of the Empire State Building) can wake a mighty appetite. Fortunately, the Empire State Building sits right around the corner from Koreatown, home to several amazing Korean restaurants where kids (and their adults) delight in cooking over table-top hibachi fires.