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There’s now a Harry Potter wizarding school in Central Texas

Feeling bummed about never receiving your Hogwarts letter?

Well, you may be able to live out your Harry Potter dreams after all.

>> Read more trending news

Worthwich School’s annual Worthwich Wizarding Weekend, described as a “3-day magical retreat to Worthwich School of Witchcraft and Wizardry,” is taking place in Killeen, Texas, Oct. 27-29.

And yes, it’s eerily similar to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

The retreat is for adults 21 and up and lasts three days, with a curriculum of classes including potions, charms, defensive magic, divination, astronomy, herbology, magical creatures and flying lessons. First-year students even get sorted into their houses, just like at Hogwarts (no word on if there’s a magical Sorting Hat, though). 

The weekend kicks off with wand-making classes, pumpkin carving and magical shopping, followed by a sorting ceremony. There will be screenings each night, magical sporting games and classes throughout the weekend. Tickets, which are $400 per person for the entire weekend, include lodging, food and drinks. 

You can buy tickets and get more information here.

Worthwich also offers regular wand making classes in Austin and across Texas, as well as Harry Potter trivia nights. 

Critics say Museum of Ice Cream’s plastic sprinkles pose environmental risks 

Environmentalists in San Francisco and Los Angeles are concerned about the effects of one feature at local Museum of Ice Cream locations: sprinkles. 

>> Read more trending news

Critics say the plastic pieces are littering California streets blocks from the pop-up museums as they’re carried out on the clothes of museum visitors. The plastic material becomes litter and has the potential to end up in the water, a danger to marine life, KABC reported. 

“My concern is that they go down the drains and into the bay, where they will be bite-sized for most fish,” San Francisco resident Johanna Sanders told the San Francisco Gate.

The Museum of Ice Cream, which opened in Los Angeles in April and San Francisco in September, is known for its colorful displays, tasty treats and Instagram-worthy photo backdrops. 

According to a Forbes description of the LA location, there’s a “gallery of suspended bananas, ... rooms of giant melted popsicles, big-as-you gummy bears and a swimming pool full of sprinkles.” The San Francisco Gate describes its local pop-up as including “a candy garden, psychedelic rainbow unicorns, a pink rock climbing wall, banana swings, an all-pink diner with a jukebox and a sprinkle pool filled with more than 100 million plastic imitation sprinkles. A circular swimming space even has pink floats and a diving board.”

Both locations feature bright pink walls and interactive exhibits.

“All of the rooms in the museum have things you can eat or smell,” KABC reported.

The museums use plastic for the sprinkles in the pools instead of real, edible ones for sanitary reasons. A spokesperson for the Museum of Ice Cream told the Gate the sprinkles are coated in “antimicrobial germ bloc.”

Museum officials said they’re working to address people’s concerns. They’re working with an environmental specialist and also instructing exiting visitors to shake off excess sprinkles at an “air shower” at the San Francisco location, according to the Gate

But even still, “guests have been putting sprinkles in their pocket(s) as a memento of their experience in the sprinkle pool,” spokeswoman Shelley Reinstein said.

Eva Holman, with the Surfrider Foundation, a nonprofit environmental organization, said the plastic sprinkles pose risks that need to be taken more seriously. 

“If it's on the sidewalk it most likely goes into storm drains and then into the ocean,” Holman told the Gate. “(And) my 5-year-old would think it’s candy. Why wouldn’t a bird on the street think it’s something to consume?”

“Most plastic has a purpose, like bottle caps and food wrappers,” Holman said. “What is the purpose of this tiny piece of plastic other than a selfie moment?”

The Museum of Ice Cream’s Los Angeles location, originally slated to close in May, has had its close date pushed back five times due to popularity. It’s scheduled now to close in December. The San Francisco location will be open until Feb. 13, just in time for lovebirds to take their sweet someone before Valentine’s day. The museum was set to close in October, but officials extended the schedule after tickets sold out in just 18 minutes.

Read more at the San Francisco Gate.

Report: Disney World to reopen Tuesday after Irma sweeps through Florida

Walt Disney World will reopen Tuesday, according to a report from CNN.

>> Read more trending news 

Disney was shut down Sunday as former Hurricane Irma was approaching the Orlando area.

Related: Magic Kingdom scarce ahead of closure for Hurricane Irma

Online videos and pictures showed some flooding at Disney’s Epcot and at the Grand Floridian Resort.

Trees were also knocked down at Animal Kingdom.

A Disney representative told CNN that the damage assessment is still in initial stages, but he said Disney World does not expect to see significant damage to its properties.

It was only the sixth time in the resort's 45-year history that severe weather has forced the theme park to close.

Man dies after running into flaming effigy at Burning Man festival

A man who tried to run through the Burning Man festival’s towering effigy died Sunday, Fox News reported.

>> Read more trending news

Aaron Joel Mitchell, 41, ran into the fire at around 10:30 p.m. Saturday, festival organizers said. Pershing County Sheriff Jerry Allen said the man ran through a human chain of security officers and into the fire.

Black Rock City firefighters rescued Mitchell, who was airlifted to a burn treatment center in Sacramento, California, CNN reported.

Mitchell was a U.S. citizen who lived in Switzerland with his wife, CNN reported.

In a statement on the company website, festival organizers said they were working to make resources available to people who witnessed the incident.

“We’re aware this incident has affected not only those who responded immediately on the scene, but also those who witnessed it, and our Black Rock City community more broadly,” the statement read.

The nine-day festival attracts more than 100,000 people annually to the Black Rock Desert, located 120 miles north of Reno, Nevada. It is scheduled to end on Monday.

Disney workers' union calls for 37 percent pay increase; company offers 2.5 percent

Nearly 40,000 unionized Disney workers have called for a massive 37 percent increase in pay just to make ends meet – what they’re calling a “living wage.”

>> Watch the news report here

Disney, Orlando’s largest employer with about 74,000 employees, has offered a much smaller 2.5 percent wage increase.

“The average wage under our proposal will increase from $11.28 to $15.71,” said Unite Here Local 737 President Jeremy Haicken. 

>> Disney Hollywood Studios could be getting a name change

Disney representatives say the average employee already makes more than $13 an hour when overtime and premiums are taken into account.

Entry-level employees also make nearly $2 an hour more than the Florida minimum wage, the company argued.

Disney cast members were not thrilled with the company’s 2.5 percent offer.

“It’s disappointing,” Magic Kingdom parking hostess Susie Easton said. “And I speak on behalf of all my fellow cast members when I say we deserve more.”

>> Read more trending news

Bus driver Steven Brainard argued that Disney makes enough money to give employees a sizable bump in pay.

“It’s sickening how they make millions and they give us little pennies here and there,” he said.

Disney spokeswoman Andrea Finger said she was confident that the two sides can find common ground when negotiations continue on Sept. 19.

“We’re going to continue to negotiate in good faith with the union to reach a fair and reasonable agreement,” she said.

6 world-famous monuments undergoing major renovations

Big Ben bonged for the last time on Aug. 21 after an announcement that London’s famous bell will be silenced until 2021 while its home, Elizabeth Tower, undergoes a multi-million dollar renovation.

>> Read more trending news

The London clock tower isn’t the only tourist attraction to close for major repairs in recent years.

Eiffel Tower

One of the most famous structures in the City of Light is undergoing a 15-year, $321 million overhaul, Curbed reported. Workers will update the tower’s elevators and twinkling lights and reinforce it against weather and possible terror attacks.

According to The Guardian, the Eiffel Tower is repainted every seven years, and the process takes 20 months and requires 60 tons of paint.

Sydney Opera House

This iconic Australian performance venue’s Joan Sunderland Theatre is undergoing its largest upgrade since it opened in 1973. According to The Telegraph, the construction will serve to upgrade acoustics and increase flexibility of the stage and seating areas.

As a result, the theater will be closed for more than half of 2017. Renovations are expected to wrap up in 2020 or 2021.

The renovations will cost more than $150 million.

Forbidden City

Thanks to many generous donations, Forbidden City’s Yang Xin Dian, or Hall of Mental Cultivation, is having its first renovation in more than a century.

Work on the famed Chinese palace should be completed by 2020.

Washington Monument

Businessman and philanthropist David Rubenstein is spending $2 to $3 million on renovations to the elevator inside the prominent figure in Washington, D.C.

The monument is closed to visitors until at least 2019, according to The Washington Post.

Machu Picchu

Peru’s “New Wonder of the World” is in the midst of a $36.7 million upgrade.

Changes include hiring a staff of guides and guards, adding an exit ramp and additional security measures, installing on-site toilets and more. Work will continue until about 2019.

RELATED: They may be clichés, but don’t rule out these popular tourist spots for your next vacation

SeaWorld’s baby orca, last to be born in captivity, dies

A 3-month-old baby killer whale died Monday at a SeaWorld park in San Antonio, Texas, the park announced this week.

RELATED: Famed orca whale Tilikum of SeaWorld has died

The baby, named Kyara, died after suffering serious health problems. She was born in April at the park, and veterinarians believe she died of pneumonia.

SeaWorld said it would provide more information when the results are in from a post-mortem exam. The whale’s veterinary team suspects pneumonia was the cause because it is “a common illness in whales in both the wild and captivity.”

“Kyara had a tremendous impact on the entire zoological team, not to mention all of the guests that had the chance to see her,” San Antonio trainer Julie Sigman said in a statement. “The heart and support that has gone into caring for her throughout Takara's pregnancy until today has been amazing. As animal caregivers we dedicate our lives to these animals, and this loss will be felt throughout the entire SeaWorld family.”

Kyara was the last orca whale to be born at a SeaWorld park. Her mother, Takara, was pregnant last year when the company announced in March that it would end its killer whale breeding program. Orca gestation can last up to 18 months.

>> Related: How long are giraffes pregnant?

Kyara had been under 24-hour watch and had been hand-fed to supplement her nutrition, the park said. She had been separated from her mother in order to receive veterinary care.

SeaWorld has not collected a wild orca in nearly 40 years, and most of its orcas were born in captivity.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Petition: Replace Confederate monument with statue of Snooty the manatee

In the wake of the tragic loss of the world's oldest manatee in captivity, residents in Manatee County, Florida, have taken to the internet to remember the beloved Snooty with a statue that would replace a Confederate monument, the Bradenton Herald reports.

>> Watch a video about Snooty here

The Change.org petition had more than 3,200 signatures early Tuesday. “For a manatee as loved as he was in the community, it’s amazing to see the support,” said Anthony Pusateri, who started the petition. He said it will be submitted to the county and city of Bradenton for consideration.

Pusateri said he's not asking for the complete removal of the Confederate monument that now stands in front of the county courthouse. It could be moved to another location, he said, paving the way for Snooty to take the prime spot in the center of downtown Bradenton.

>> Famous Florida manatee, Snooty, oldest on record, killed in freak aquarium ‘accident’

The statue petition was not the only one filed in tribute to Snooty. Others call for renaming Lakewood Ranch and naming a new high school for the county's unofficial mascot. 

There was an outpouring of emotion Monday across Bradenton, where residents stopped to honor Snooty at the museum. They left flowers, cards, drawings from children, lettuce, carrots and a candle near the front door, according to the Herald.

Snooty drowned Sunday after becoming stuck in the life-support maintenance area at his home at the South Florida Museum, just two days after his 69th birthday. It's not yet known how he got stuck in the small tube, according to another Bradenton Herald story. 

>> Read more trending news

Divers inspected the tank Monday to ensure the safety of the museum's three manatees undergoing rehabilitation.

Jeff Rodgers, the museum's chief operating officer, told the Herald that a memorial service for Snooty is being planned, along with a special memorial on the museum's grounds.

The first recorded manatee born in captivity in 1948, Snooty had lived at the museum since 1949.

Read more from the Bradenton Herald.

Trump supporter cleans graffiti from president's Hollywood Walk of Fame star, goes viral

In the months since he has taken office, President Donald Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame has taken a beating.

The ceremonial star has been smashed, drawn on and covered in stickers that protest Trump’s policies.

Earlier this week, a young Trump supporter decided to take care of the star – and won some praise from conservatives in the process.

>> Read more trending news

Makenna Greenwald of Wyoming posted a photo on Twitter this week of her attempt to clean up Trump’s damaged star.

“Stopped to clean @realDonaldTrump Hollywood star. Nothing but respect for MY President,” Greenwald wrote on Twitter, along with the #RaisedRight hashtag.

>> See the post here

Greenwald’s post has been shared more than 50,000 times and caught the attention of many high-profile conservatives, including Fox News’ Sean Hannity and Trump’s son, Eric.

“Wow. Great American. @CNN @NBCNews @JoeNBC (who calls the @POTUS a schmuck, liar, goon etc.). Watch and learn what respect for the office is,” Hannity wrote.

>> See his post here

“Thank you Makenna!” Eric Trump added.

>> See his post here

20-story hip-hop museum to open in New York in 2018

A neighborhood that birthed hip-hop heavyweights like Q -Tip, Doug E Fresh and Mase will soon be the backdrop of a massive museum.

>> Read more trending news

The first phase of the Hip Hop Hall of Fame Museum, projected to cost $150 million, will open in Harlem next February, according to Newsweek. Hip Hop Hall Fame, a nonprofit that aims to preserve and conduct research on the socioeconomic and cultural impact of hip-hop music, announced the plans for the museum last week.

The first phase of the new project is slated to include a cafe, a gallery, a visitors bureau and a gift store on the ground floor, and on the second floor, a museum, event space, offices and a multimedia studio, according to a news release.

The second phase will expand to 20 stories and include a hotel, mall, gift shop, an arcade, concert lounge and restaurant.

»RELATED: Study: Hip-hop has fewer drug references than any other music genre

James “JT” Thompson, who founded the Hip Hop Hall of Fame in 1996, has been working to bring the hip-hop museum and complex to life for several years, according to the New York Post.

“This has been a labor of love. It’s had its valleys, mountains, peaks and falloffs,” Thompson told the Post in reference to museum plans halting following the deaths of Tupac and Notorious B.I.G.

Pending the successful fundraising campaign for the museum, Thompson will see the fruits of his labor after 20 years.

“Hip-hop is about empowering yourself, moving beyond the music,” he told the Post. “The HHHOF and I have a duty and responsibility to preserve this rich history of music and culture.”

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