If you’re like me, when you visit a new city you make a stop at the local museum to see what they have to offer. It’s a great way to soak in the culture, and it gives you something to do instead of hitting the bars at an ungodly hour.
But if the typical science or history museum isn’t exciting enough for you, you might need to find a spot that really gets your blood pumping. Here are some of the strangest, creepiest, and sometimes most hilarious little museums in the country.
1. Museum of Sex in New York, NY
Despite featuring reams of pornography displayed on its walls, the Museum of Sex in Manhattan is allowed within the 500 feet of church institutions not granted to strip clubs and porn stores. The current hot exhibits at the popular adults-only museum include Sex Among the Lotus: 2500 Years of Chinese Erotic Obsession and GET OFF: Exploring the Pleasure Principles.
2. International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, ME
We all know the cryptid classics such as Big Foot, the Loch Ness monster, and the Yeti, but this museum also features regional hits like Dover Demon, the Montauk Monster, the Jersey Devil, skunk apes, and even some relatively unknowns like “giant beavers.”
3. Museum of Death in Los Angeles, CA
This LA museum’s cheerful slogan is “make people happy to be alive,” and proceeds to do so by showing them a variety of historical items related to death. They’ve got baby coffins, taxidermy animals, artwork from serial killers, a recreation of the Heaven’s Gate mass suicide (featuring the original beds), and even the severed head of serial killer Henri “Bluebeard” Landru!
4. Vent Haven Museum in Fort Mitchell, KY
Claiming to be the “only museum in the world dedicated to the art of ventriloquism,” this museum features a lot of heavy hitters in the dummy world, such as Charlie McCarthy, Cecil Wigglenose, and Jacko. Don’t know who these guys are? Then you probably had a very sane childhood.
5. Warren Anatomical Museum in Boston, MA
Inside Harvard’s Medical School lies this 15,000-item collection of strange anatomical specimens, including the skull of Phineas Gage, the railroad worker remembered for receiving an iron rod through his head and surviving.
6. House on the Rock in Dodgeville, WI
Designed by the mysterious and eccentric architect Alex Jordan Jr., this labyrinth of weirdness features, among other things, a large collection of Santa Claus figures, a 200-foot model of a sea monster, and the world’s largest indoor carousel.
7. UFO Museum and Research Center in Roswell, NM
No one does extraterrestrial speculation quite like Roswell. This museum may be light on the actual facts, but it’s heavy on the fog machines and memorabilia from the famous 1947 “crash.”
8. The Warren’s Occult Museum in Monroe, CT
Ed and Lorraine Warren, the famous investigators of the Amityville haunting opened up their own paranormal-themed museum in the back of their Connecticut home. It features shrunken heads, vampire coffins, and the cursed doll Annabelle herself.
9. Porter Sculpture Park in Montrose, SD
Using scrap metal from old railroads and antique farm equipment, Wayne Porter built several absolutely bizarre sculptures way out in the middle of nowhere. Among them are dragons, a giant bowl of fish, and an ox head approximately the size of one of the Rushmore heads.
10. Meguro Parasitological Museum in Tokyo, Japan
Immerse yourself in 45,000 different specimens of parasites, including the world’s longest tape worm, stretching nearly 29 feet long!
There you have it, the least pretentious museums in the country! They’re all admittedly off-putting, but somehow less disgusting than when the MET asks you for a $20 donation.