Home DESTINATION SPOTLIGHT Senior Travelers: Meet Your Favorite Dummy at Madame Tussaud's
Senior Travelers: Meet Your Favorite Dummy at Madame Tussaud's PDF Print E-mail

If on your next visit to Washington DC you happen to see President Barack Obama hanging out in front of a red sandstone building at 1025 F Street NW, don’t be surprised. But, on closer examination, you’ll discover he’s a dummy. No, in spite of what a bunch of disappointed Republicans call him, the figure is a real dummy. It’s a plastic duplicate of the new President set out there to induce people to cough up $10 each to enter the city’s Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum.

Wax museum visitors with Sinatra image


The original Madame Tussaud's has been in London for nearly two centuries. In addition to the Washington DC museum, which opened a year ago, there are branches in Amsterdam, Berlin, Hong Kong, Shanghai, New York City and Las Vegas. A new one in Hollywood is expected to open this year.

French-born Madame Tussaud started sculpting as a teenager during the French Revolution, when earned income creating death masks of decapitated royals. After she married and moved to England, her wax images were in a traveling exhibit going from city to city for 30 years. In 1835, she opened her first museum in London. Since then, thousands of wax characters have been modeled, to be replaced periodically as famous politicians, celebrities, heroes and villains came and went.

Every time I'm in Las Vegas, I make sure to drop in on Madame Tussaud's at the Venetian Hotel. On several early morning visits, I've watched employees add new figures and move others for special displays around tourist traffic areas inside the hotel. It's a bit unnerving to see super realistic Wayne Newton, Marilyn Monroe or Magic Johnson being carried around like ... well, wax dummies.

What makes the museums especially enjoyable for both young and old visitors is that you may stay as long as you like, and freely shoot photos and pose closely with favorite celebrities and historic figures. Where else can you schmooze with Barbra Streisand, spar with Muhammed Ali, vocalize with Frank Sinatra and shake with Elvis. And maybe soon, pose real chummy-like with your arm around President Obama. And once inside, and even if you look real hard, you probably won’t find a wax figure of Sarah Palin.

Stay in-the-know about the latest Sports, Life, Money, Tech, and Travel stories. You'll get your first 2 months of USA TODAY for $25 (charged monthly). All print subscribers receive the e-Newspaper included with their subscription.