It’s the middle of summer, but that’s never an excuse to stop learning! There are tons of museums scattered throughout the world. And if you’re looking something a little more fun and original than an art museum, there are a lot of museums that offer unusual exhibits or focus on weird topics.
Whether you’re currently a student enjoying a few months of relaxation or a person who has long been done with school, you can head out and enjoy these bizarre museums.
American West Coast Museums
Since the myWebRoom office is based in San Francisco, I thought it would be fun to start our learning adventure in our backyard! Here are a few of our favorite fun things to do in California!
1 – Natural History Museum
Let’s ease in with a fun science museum. The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County is home to one of the largest gem collections in the world, has a newly remodeled dinosaur hall, and hosts regular overnight stays for kids and adults. You can literally step into the safe version of Jurassic Park by sleeping beneath these towering giants!
2 – Museum of Jurassic Technology
Here’s where we’ll take a rapid turn into the bizarre with the Museum of Jurassic Technology, also in LA. This private museum holds an eclectic collection of artistic, scientific, and historic curiosity that pays tribute to the older predecessors to natural history museums. There is an odd blend of questionable exhibits mixed in with genuine historic displays.
3 – Pacific Pinball Museum
DING DING DING! The moment that you step into the Pacific Pinball Museum in Alameda, CA is the moment that you take an exciting step through history. This Bay Area museum traces the history of an American pastime all of the way from the 1930’s until now. You can trace the evolution of the games through the machines on display before you end up in the arcade hall, where there are over 90 machines that you can play!
4 – Pez Museum
Do you still remember your first Pez dispenser? If you do, chances are that you’ll be able to see it at this quirky Bay Area staple. If you’re visiting San Francisco this summer, take a break from the steep hills and large crowds – head out to the Pez Museum in Burlingame. This quirky little museum is home to over 900 pieces that range all the way back to the 1950’s. What’s the best part about traveling through pop cultural history? The admission is only three dollars!
American Midwest Museums
I don’t often have the chance to wander between the two coasts, let alone explore the middle of the US. If you’re planning on traveling in between the East and West Coasts, there are some amazingly strange and unusual places to see! From having a sleepover with dinosaurs at two different science museums to hitting up a couple of “please touch,” museums, the Midwest has you covered!
5 – Science Museum of Minnesota
Dinosaurs and fossils? A space flight simulation? An interactive math exhibit? Throw in an overnight experience and you’ve got another great trip lined up at the Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul! Where else could you find a place with a giant movie screen, live theater performances, and the chance to learn all about science but at this fun and immersive museum.
6 – Field Museum
I will never get enough of museums with awesome sleepovers! The famous Field Museum in Chicago, IL hosts the Dozin’ with the Dinos event. Spend your night prowling through the African bush, learning about ancient cultures, and sleeping beneath different breeds of dinosaurs. Find your spirit-dino and make yourself a cozy bed underneath their guard.
7 – Creation Museum
Scientists have all sorts of perspectives and theories! Do you want to see what a museum would look like from the perspective of a relgious creationist? You can find out at the Creation Museum in Kentucky This interesting museum is located seven miles from the Cincinnati Airport and even supports a private shuttle to and from the airport. Not only can you walk throughout different books in the Old Testament, but you can also enjoy the thrilling zip-lines and an adorable petting zoo at this museum.
8 – National Mustard Museum
I love mustard – turns out that I’m not the only one. Catch up on the “King of Condiments” by exploring the National Mustard Museum in Wisconsin! The next time that you find yourself in Madison, WI, give yourself a few hours to visit this quirky little travel town museum. Their convenient location is self-described as, “neighboring Madison to the west, only a 45-minute drive from Wisconsin Dells, just 2-1/2 hours from Chicago, and a mere 6,978 kilometers from Dijon, France!” The tangy museum is dedicated entirely to the spicy condiment and holds over 5,000 types of mustards from all 50 states and over 70 different countries.
9 – Museum of the Weird
Did you think that you had to wait for the circus to roll through town to get in your taste of the strange? Now, you can experience unusual attractions that are inspired by vintage circus and carnival performances at the Museum of the Weird in Austin, TX. See artifacts like an infamous Fuji mermaid inspired by the first produced by P.T. Barnum.
10 – UFO Museum
Extra extra, learn all about it! Extraterrestrial life crashes into a little desert town in New Mexico! Based on a quest for the truth, The International UFO Museum and Research Center goes through decades of paperwork and speculation to present one theory of what happened in Roswell, New Mexico back in July of 1947. Whether you’re a fan of alien history or simply curious to know more about this little town, than this center is the place for you!
11 – Titanic Museum
Did you know that there is a life size replica of the Titanic that functions as a museum? Neither did I! Technically, it’s half of the ship, but there are two versions of this museum at Pigeon Forge, TN and Branson, MO. Pigeon Forge is a famous vacation town that is home to Dollywood, the Dolly Parton themed amusement park, and theaters, while Branson is home to Dolly Parson’s Dixie Stampede, nature tours, and Ripley’s Odditorium! Both locations offer tours through the Grand Staircase, let you listen to true accounts from survivors, watch the looming iceberg, and feel the freezing water. This museum is perfect for both history buffs and film fans.
American East Coast Museums
Although my native California is known for its laid back and unusual personality, the East Coast shows us up with some seriously strange and weird museums. This is just a small list of some of the cool history and science museums that you can visit while you explore the length of this coast.
12 – Coney Island Museum
I am not the kind of person to turn down vintage attractions! That being said, I am down for an adventure to the Coney Island Museum in New York City. This quirky museum is funded by the Andy Warhol Foundation and houses a scale model of the original Luna Park, a large collection of vintage Funhouse Mirrors, rare postcards, and constant screenings of rare films and documentaries. Not only that, but the entire building is decorated by old fashioned carnival advertisements.
13 – Corning Museum of Glass
This may sound bizarre, but glass has a long and fascinating history! Harriet Baskas from Stuck at the Airport recommends The Corning Museum of Glass in New York for a good introduction to this unusual subject. The museum traces through thirty-five centuries of history and showcases everything as grand as Egyptian glass sculptures, Roman glass dishware, Venetian window art, and genuine Tiffany glass. You can also stroll through the world’s largest collection of contemporary glass art. I would definitely recommend this museum to lovers of history, as the museum is located in a charming city speckled with buildings on the National Register of Historic Places.
14 – The Museum of Unnatural History
The best museums find a way to balance fun with learning – very few can present their fun displays as a false front for learning. The Museum of Unnatural History in Washington DC houses a quirky blend of fictional materials like Unicorn Tears and Primordial Soup. The museum is actually a fun gift shop that funds the 826DC learning center. This creative writing program was founded by Dave Eggers in San Francisco and has spread throughout the nation. The program hosts writing workshops, public readings, and eventual publication for the city’s youth!
15 – International Cryptozoology Museum
Is Bigfoot real? The International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, ME is the world’s only museum dedicated to the study of hidden or unknown animals. If you’ve ever been curious about yetis and sasquatches, like the infamous Bigfoot, or interested in sea serpents and lake monsters, like the Loch Ness Monster, you should swing by this unique museum. The next time that you retreat to the quaint countryside of Maine, you should take a moment in between oyster shucking to visit this unusual and educational museum.
16 – Mutter Museum
I am telling you – science can be fun and downright weird! The Mutter Museum in Philadelphia, PA is home to a collection of medical abnormalities displayed in a vintage, nineteenth-century museum setting. Philadelphia is home to several artifacts to the American Revolution, but you should take a moment to see the same medical oddities that our Founding Fathers were familiar with!
17 – Pharmacy Museum
Spare some time to visit the Pharmacy Museum in New Orleans, LA and you will be so glad that you live in the age of modern medicine. This strange museum is based in the first legitimate pharmacy on American soil. It is a showcase of vintage remedies that range from herbal blends to the infamous infusions sold by street pharmacists. You can even take a break to order a drink from the old fashioned soda fountains!
18 – Honorable Mention: MUSA
Although MUSA, the Cancun Underwater Museum, isn’t in the United States, it is located right off of the coast of the Americas. We love this museum so much that we even mentioned in our collection of amazing places to see before you die! You can watch man-made sculptures slowly overtaken by undersea life by booking yourself a scuba diving adventure the next time that you find yourself lounging on a warm beach in Cancun!
It’s time to head across the Atlantic. We’ll start by exploring some of the fun and unusual museums in Europe before we branch out further.
19 – Grant Museum of Zoology
Though its home is in a small building, the Grant Museum of Zoology know how to make the most of its space by showcasing over 68,000 animal specimens in their glass display cases. Tincture of Museums insists that it is a must see destination whenever you’re in London. This popular location is the only university zoological museum left in the city. It is even home to a popular glass jar of moles that is famous enough to have its own twitter feed!
20 – Frietmuseum
I am very surprised that the US didn’t have this museum, but you can learn all about the history of french fries at the Frietmuseum in Bruges, Belgium. This fun museum makes its home in the 14th-century Saaihalle, one of the most beautiful and oldest buildings in Bruges! You can appreciate architecture while you nibble on fresh fries in one beautiful building.
21 – Currywurst Museum
Speaking of food, treat your taste buds to some of the delicious flavors in the Currywurst Museum in Berlin, Germany. This fun and interactive museum celebrates Germany’s popular fast food with large exhibits, interactive games, architecture inspired by the sausage, and savory food. You can pretend to run your own successful currywurst cart before you head over to the museum’s cafeteria for fresh sausage loaded with spices and flavor!
22 – Musee des Arts et Metiers
Combining beautiful architecture with an unusual subject matter, the Musee des Arts et Metiers in Paris, France revolves entirely around vintage science and industry. The building is home to over 80,000 scientific artifacts that range from camera prototypes, ancient calculators, the original plaster model of the Statue of Liberty, and the first model airplane. The unusual museum even has a dedicated metro stop that is decorated in the building’s iconic copper tones.
Here’s our final round up. These quirky museums touch on all of the rarely mentioned conveniences in our lives.
23 – The Instant Ramen Museum
Let’s be real – we were all college students at one point. We have all dined on our fair share of instant ramen! Why not learn all about the history and evolution of this speedy convenience at the Momofuko Ando Instant Ramen Museum in Tokyo, Japan! This free museum offers a fun walk to see all of the interesting instant ramen on the market, and even lets you make your own ramen for a small fee!
24 – Sulabh Toilet Museum
We’ve come to the end of the line. The Sulabh International Museum of Toilets traces the history and evolution of toilets from their humble beginnings to their modern iterations. Conveniently located in New Delhi, India, this museum is divided into three different sections and traces the toilet timeline through ancient ruins, the Middle Ages, and today’s modern style of toilets.
Feeling Inspired to Travel and Learn?
We are in such a good place to head out and learn about amazing new things. Whether you want to have some fun with a side of science or you want to head out to see the truly odd and bizarre, you know now of some museums with weird and unusual approaches to their subject matter. Excuse me, I have to book a trip the National Mustard Museum.