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7 Strange Museums to Visit in the Golden State
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7 Strange Museums to Visit in the Golden State

Experience the extraordinary and expand your horizons at one of these intriguing seven strange museums to visit in the Golden State.

California.com

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5 min read

March 26, 2021

From exquisite L.A. art galleries to vintage car museums in Sacramento, California’s home to exhibits that suit all tastes. While regular museums showcase the best of the area’s history and culture, not all artifacts on display are your typical ones. You get to experience the fun, the mysterious, and the delicious in the Golden State’s many museums.

Focusing on the peculiar and the unusual, these museums satisfy every visitor’s strangest curiosities. Experience the extraordinary and expand your horizons at these strange museums. 

Interesting Museums in Northern California

The Winchester Mystery House has 40 bedrooms, 40 staircases, 6 kitchens, 10,000 window panes, 2,000 doors, but one shower.

Winchester Mystery House 

Location: 525 South Winchester Boulevard, San Jose

Hours: Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.

Pricing: $19.99–$39.99

San Jose’s ghostly Winchester Mystery House boasts striking architecture and haunted history.  Sarah Winchester, the wife of firearm tycoon William Wirt Winchester, designed a mansion that would confuse the home’s ghostly guests. The house took 38 years to build. Over the years, Sarah requested strange and weird features to be added to the Winchester Mystery House. These include spider web windows, staircases leading to nowhere, and several secret passageways. 

As you go up the narrow winding stairs, the mysterious corridors exude the feeling that this place is haunted. Many visitors claim they’ve seen orbs of light and smokey figures while touring the house. Every story about the mansion sends shivers down your spine. Want to add extra spookiness to your experience? Watch the horror movie Winchester before your visit.

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Bigfoot Discovery Museum

Location: 5497 Highway 9, Felton

Hours: Wednesday–Monday 11:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.

Pricing: Free

Is Bigfoot real or just a mythical creature? Learn all about the mystery at the Bigfoot Discovery Museum. Greeting visitors with a nine-foot-tall Sasquatch, the museum educates people about the ape-like creature. The many artifacts and exhibits just might convince you that Bigfoot did indeed exist.

Take a look at the hominid skull, footprint casts, local sighting maps, and Bigfoot videos. If lucky, you might bump into visitors with their own tales of Bigfoot sightings. Whether or not you believe in the creature, the Bigfoot Discovery Museum is a blast.

Funland is one of the best machines at Musée Mécanique. Photo courtesy of Musée Mécanique.

Musée Mécanique 

Location: Pier 45, Fishermans Wharf, San Francisco 

Hours: 10:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m.

Pricing: Free

Take a peek into one of the largest collections of antique coin-operated arcade machines. Musée Mécanique (open during normal circumstances) features a selection of privately-owned coin-operated mechanical musical instruments and antique arcade artifacts. The exhibits were brought to the museum from all over the world. There are over 300 arcade artifacts and musical boxes to explore. 

Take a trip down memory lane and check out the all-time classics. If you’re looking to pick up a new hobby, this is the perfect introduction to the world of arcade video games. Head over to Fisherman's Wharf with a full pocket of quarters and discover how video games have evolved.

The Most Interesting Museums in Southern California 

The World of Illusions is the only place where you can do your laundry upside down. Photo courtesy of World of Illusions.

World of Illusions 

Location: 6751 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles

Hours: Friday–Sunday from 11:00 a.m.–10:00 p.m.

Pricing: $20–$70

Let your imagination soar at the World of Illusions—one of the best places in L.A. to take pictures. Offering four one-of-a-kind experiences to visitors, this museum of illusions in Los Angeles encourages flash photography. The Giant’s House will make it seem like you’re a Lilliputian from Gulliver’s Travels. The colossal donut, enormous pizza, and gigantic burger will jumpstart your appetite. 

There are over 30 3D illusions inspired by movies, cartoons, and artwork that allow visitors to have mind-boggling experiences. Smash It is perhaps the most popular feature—visitors who feel the need to cool off can break as many things as possible. Spice up your IG feed and snap the strangest photos at the World of Illusions. 

Los Angeles Museum of Love

Location:  4320 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles

Hours: 2:30 p.m.–9:30 p.m.

Pricing: $32 

Take your special someone to the Los Angeles Museum of Love, an interactive museum that allows you to explore your relationship. Go on an adventure with your one and only and take part in fun activities focusing on romance, intimacy, and the different stages of a relationship. The interactive programs in this strange museum will take you on a metaphorical walk through a relationship.

The eight rooms and exhibits spark meaningful conversations with your partner. Whether you just started dating or have been together for a while, you’ll learn a lot about each other when visiting the Los Angeles Museum of Love. If you’re looking for romantic things to do in L.A., plan your next date here. 

Pay a visit to the 'bunniest' place in California that holds more than 35,000 rabbit-related items. Photo courtesy of The Bunny Museum.

The Bunny Museum

Location: 2605 Lake Avenue, Altadena

Hours: Monday–Saturday from 12:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m., Sunday from 12:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m.

Pricing: $8–$12

This California museum is quite popular; visitors hop over from around the world to explore the ‘bunniest’ museum ever. Housing over 35,000 rabbit-related exhibits, The Bunny Museum holds the Guinness World Record for the biggest bunny collection. Posters, plushies, puzzles, treats, and figurines—this museum is the “hoppiest place in the world”. But, that’s not all. Admire the freeze-dried rabbits perfectly preserved in a glass display cabinet. 

The story behind The Bunny Museum is pretty romantic. Candace Frazee and Steve Lubanski have a shared passion for bunnies. They’ve been exchanging bunny gifts almost every day for two decades. Over the years, they accumulated so many bunny items that they decided to put them on display. The museum boasts the largest collection of rabbit-related items—it's home to currently over 43,000 items. Now that's just spectacular. Pack your carrots and hit the road, 'cause you wish you were hare.

The Charles M. Schulz Museum is totally worth a visit if you're a fan of Snoopy. Photo courtesy of Charles M. Schulz Museum.

Charles M. Schulz Museum 

Location: 2301 Hardies Lane, Santa Rosa

Hours: Wednesday–Monday from 11:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

Pricing: $5–$12

Is there anyone who has gotten a Charlie Brown and Snoopy Valentine card at some point? The Charles M. Schulz Museum (open during normal circumstances) pays homage to the creator of the Peanuts comic strip. As one of California’s most interesting museums, it features three rotating galleries with frequently changing exhibits.

Walk around the spacious colorful halls and relive your childhood memories. Check out the life-sized Peanuts gang statues scattered all over the garden outside. Whatever you do, don’t forget to visit the museum gift shop to buy Snoopy-related souvenirs. 

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