While the odds aren’t necessarily in your favor at Las Vegas casinos, you’re guaranteed a winning experience at the MGM Grand’s "The Hunger Games: The Exhibition." Opened in June 2019, the blockbuster movie franchise comes to life through an incredible array of actual sets, props, and costumes used in the films.
"The Hunger Games" series—Suzanne Collins’s bestselling trilogy, and its four-film adaptation which grossed over $3 billion worldwide at the box office—takes place in the dystopian world of Panem, where the diabolical President Snow (played by Donald Sutherland) presides over an annual competition in which two teenage contestants (one boy and one girl) from each of 12 districts fight to the death for the amusement of the rich and privileged residents of the Capitol.
Slick, beautifully designed, interactive, and impressively state of the art, "The Hunger Games: The Exhibition," created by Victory Hill Exhibitions, lets you follow the journey of heroic District 12 archer Katniss Everdeen (played by Jennifer Lawrence) to the Capitol, culminating in an archery training exercise involving the world’s largest touchscreens (we’re talking Guinness World Record holder status!). There’s also a retail shop, Capitol Couture, loaded with exclusive Hunger Games merchandise so you can score a Mockingjay badge or emblem bearing your favorite district's seal and you don’t have to worry about getting stung by Tracker Jackers!
How to Visit
Open daily from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., "The Hunger Games: The Exhibition" is located in the underground level of MGM Grand, and accessed by an escalator or elevator: look out for the ground floor’s entrance, marked by a glass case containing a white Peacekeeper uniform and illuminated plant-like sculpture. Admission is $35 for adults, $25 for children ages 4-11, and free for children age 3 and under. There's a $10 service fee with each paid admission, which includes a choice of four holographic commemorative tickets: one depicts a hand making the three-fingered Mockingjay salute, and another, a floral-like shape, is emblazoned with Effie Trinket’s “Eyes Bright, Chins Up, Smiles On!” quote. Discounted group rates are available for parties of 10 or more.
What to See and Do
Once descended to the exhibition’s underground lobby, you’ll see a glass case containing one of the colorful, flower patterned suits and wigs for Stanley Tucci’s flamboyant Capitol emcee and talk show host character, Caesar Flickerman. Each of the exhibition’s dozens of costumes notes the name of the character, the actor, designer, and specific film it was seen in.
The exhibition begins with that familiar four-note tune known as “Rue’s Whistle,” and once a door opens you’re ushered into a forest-like space as "The Hunger Games" theme plays, featuring costumed mock-ups of Katniss and her best friend Gale. There are a handful of distinct, themed galleries that recreate specific scenes and places from the film series; the next is District 12’s “reaping” lottery, where Effie (played by Elizabeth Banks) is flanked by a Peacekeeper and Katniss in her muted reaping dress. Even the microphone is from the movie!
Things get even more immersive in the high speed Tribute Train that zips Katniss and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) to the Capitol. The train simulates the motion of 200 miles per hour and has the actual upholstered seats from the film, with replicas of the desserts served and the set’s actual wallpaper. It’s truly impressive, and there are plans to continually add to and upgrade this collection. The near future will see the unveiling of brand new displays containing more weapons from the films. “It’s going to keep evolving to make a richer experience,” noted Gene Lubas, Victory Hill Exhibitions creative director.
After the train ride, it’s time for a high-tech interactive Capitol TV quiz, hosted by a Caesar Flickerman-esque fellow, and then time for photos in President Snow’s office (this set is a partial-replica, since the scene was originally shot in a Swiss chalet, although the chandelier, rug, and chair are the real deal). There are endless photo opportunities throughout, including a chance to play rebel and choose the background and message for the rebellion.
Other highlights include some of the Katniss's iconic dresses, and a climactic Tributes training exercise in which visitors participate in three rounds of archery target practice with rubber bulb-tipped arrows shot against a 60-foot-wide, reactive video touchscreen: officially the Guinness World Record holder as Largest Interactive Touchscreen. There are many safety precautions taken for this portion of the exhibition and participants must sign a waiver for this activity before entering.
Tips for When You Visit
To avoid the crowds, visiting during evening hours between 7-9 p.m. is best, although do note the last admission is one hour prior to closing.
If you’re planning on bringing home some Hunger Games merchandise, plan to spend a good 20 minutes looking through the items on sale. Two of the most luxe offerings are Swarovski crystal water bottle holders and pens, and you can also grab the new LASplash Cosmetics Hunger Games makeup line, exclusively available here.