The MGM Grand recently introduced The Hunger Games: The Exhibition, based on the popular film franchise. The 45-minute experience is meant to put you in the shoes of Katniss Everdeen, the main character, from her beginnings in District 12 until she became the Mockingjay. The exhibit has opened in San Francisco, New York, and now Las Vegas.
When you walk through the frosted-glass doors, you enter the dark green forests of District 12, where Katniss and Gale Hawthorn crouched down to hunt — the introduction of the film. Elsewhere, you are welcomed into the Hall of Justice, where the reaping ceremony takes place, and are guided into a life-sized replica of the train that Katniss and Peeta Melark rode to the capital (also in the train, a short interactive trivia game is hosted by Effie Trinket and uses motion sensors).
Throughout, mannequins reenact scene scenes from the movie, and everything you see throughout the exhibit —props, costumes (including Katniss’ wedding dress and dress of fire), even the wallpaper — were featured in the films.
In addition to photo ops, guests can play with interactive simulations of rebellion defense training, and interactive maps that explain the Districts and creatures that engulf the world. The archery training experience set, within a 60-foot-wide interactive digital training lab, is the climax of the exhibit; it’s said to be the largest interactive screen in the world.
“We wanted to make it more immersive than the other locations, making it a little more hands on,” says Welby Altidor, chief creative officer. Altidor wanted to honor the vision of trilogy author Suzanne Collins and film studio Lionsgate — and, after spending a year putting it together, seem to have successfully achieved it. “Whenever a project seems impossible, we push for it.”
As someone who vaguely keeps up with the franchise, I genuinely enjoyed the experience. Your experience may differ depending on how well you know TheHunger Games. (My boyfriend, who has read the books and watched the movies, had a fantastic experience.) The staff was very knowledgeable and played in character, which came to be an immense help in learning about the cinematic universe and preparing for the interactive archery lab — my favorite part of the experience. I want to pursue archery after that.
It’s also relevant: The story of a young girl who takes on a leadership role and grows into it, it just might inspire young girls to unleash their inner feminist. That seems like a good addition to the Las Vegas Strip.
There’s more to come, too. In the next six months, the exhibit will add additional layers and further its immersive world. “We like to learn from our guests on what things to change and ways to keep it fresh,” says Altidor.
The Hunger Games: The Exhibition, $35, $25 for ages 4-11 (guests are required to sign a waiver), mgmgrand.mgmresorts.com