Dr. Seuss: Amazing World.
Seuss's colorful menagerie: Cat in the Hat, Wump the Gump, the Lorax, Yertle the Turtle.

Dr. Seuss: Amazing World and Sculpture Garden

Field review by the editors.

Springfield, Massachusetts

Some cities stake their claims-to-fame in the cartoon universe. Santa Rosa, California, is headquarters for Peanuts. Chester, Illinois, has its muscled forearm lock on Popeye. And Springfield, Massachusetts, has positioned itself as Ground Zero for Dr. Seuss.

Dr. Seuss.
Dr. Seuss and his most famous creation.

The link is tenuous. Theodor Seuss Geisel, creator of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas and The Cat in the Hat, was born in Springfield on March 2, 1904. But he wrote all of his famous books for children much later in life, when he lived 3,000 miles away in La Jolla, California (there's a statue there).

Springfield, however, reasoned that the town with the most statues wins. So when Dr. Seuss died in 1991, it commissioned his stepdaughter to make sculptures of her dad's imaginary menagerie. It took until 2002 (at a reported cost of $6.2 million), but the important characters are present: Horton the elephant, Sam-I-Am, Yertle the Turtle, Thidwick the Moose, the Lorax, the Grinch, the Cat in the Hat, even Dr. Seuss himself.

These sculptures, however, are more for parents than kids. Rather than a playground populated with colorful, climbable fiberglass creatures, they're rendered in serious, detailed, hot-to-the-touch-in-summer bronze, displayed in a neatly trimmed "national memorial garden." Still, it's better to see a bronze version of a fondly recalled childhood character than an obscure politician.

Dr. Seuss Sculpture Garden.
Hot seat on a sunny summer afternoon.

Springfield boosted its claim in 2017 when the Amazing World of Dr. Seuss opened on June 3 next to the statue garden, with the two attractions for the same admission price. The Amazing World's rooms are painted in the familiar Dr. Seuss crazy-color palate, and gears its first floor to young children, with games and activities and -- finally -- kid-friendly statues of Seuss characters such as the Lorax, the Cat in the Hat, and Wump the Gump.

Upstairs is the "adult" floor, with artifacts from Ted's California home such as his drawing table, his favorite chair, and his collection of 117 bow ties.

One of the relics from Ted's Springfield days is his childhood toy dog, which he never threw away, and which the precocious Ted named Theophrastus (a Greek philosopher and botanist). With his fondness for wordplay, maybe Ted just liked the way it sounded.

Dr. Seuss: Amazing World and Sculpture Garden

Amazing World of Dr. Seuss

Address:
21 Edwards St., Springfield, MA
Directions:
Amazing World of Dr. Seuss. I-91 exit 6. Turn north onto Union St., left onto Main St., right onto State St., left onto Chestnut St., then right onto Edwards St. Park in the lots for the library and Seuss Museum.
Hours:
Tu-Sa 10-5, Su 11-5 (Call to verify)
Phone:
413-263-6800
Admission:
Adults $25
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Private Monument to Rocky MarcianoPrivate Monument to Rocky Marciano, Springfield, MA - < 1 mi.
Fame Reaches for McKinley's HeadFame Reaches for McKinley's Head, Springfield, MA - < 1 mi.
Victorian House GraveVictorian House Grave, Springfield, MA - < 1 mi.
In the region:
Conny, the Walk-Thru Outdoor Whale, West Hartford, CT - 25 mi.

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August 23, 2017

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