Museums are some of the most underrated attractions in the world. Some are quirky, some are comical, some are exciting, but all of them are informative (even if you never wanted to know). They are some of the most affordable and memorable day trips imaginable, but some people still think museums are boring. This list of 11 Funtastic Museums will convince them otherwise.
11. Dinosaur Ridge – Morrison, Colorado
Located in Morrison, Colorado, Dinosaur Ridge is what some might call an outdoor museum. It is a 1.1 mile stretch of land that is interactive in a way most museums only dream. Guests can take the same steps dinosaurs once took millions of years ago. Hundreds of dinosaur prints are clearly visible on the ridge, with more than 15 fossils and geological sites to explore along the path. There’s an exhibit hall called “A Trek Through Time,” a discovery center, and children’s dig sites perfect for finding fossils like a paleontologist. Entrance fees are only $9/adults and $7/youth. Dinosaur Ridge is the perfect way to spend a fun, easy, and affordable day in Colorado.
10. International Spy Museum – Washington D.C.
The International Spy Museum in Washington D.C. is the only museum in the world solely dedicated to espionage, providing a global perspective on the not-so-secret career. “The Spy Museum features the largest collection of international espionage artifacts ever placed on public display. (About.)” Exhibits like “Covers & Legends” allows visitors to adopt an alias like a real spy to determine why spies need a cover. The “School for Spies” exhibition allows visitors to explore spy technologies like camcorder pens and bugs! Admission is $20.95/Adult which is totally reasonable for one of the NY Times “Top 10 Most Interesting Museums in the World!”
“About The Museum.” International Spy Museum. 2018.
9. The Museum of Jurassic Technology – Los Angeles, California
A museum that inspires confusion in a space of chaos, that is often mistaken for an art project, and allows the visitor to decide what is real or fake; Is The Museum of Jurassic Technology really a museum? Some would argue it isn’t, but what really determines whether a museum is a museum and when it is not? Dim lighting, strange exhibits, and curious names make this museum one of select taste. Visitors describe it as stepping into another realm, much different from its location in sunny Los Angeles, California. This museum inspires more questions than answers, but for only $8 admission, I’d say it’s worth the experience!
8. Alcatraz East: Crime Museum – Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
Alcatraz East: Crime Museum, located in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, is exactly what it sounds like: a deeply educational jaunt through some of America’s craziest crimes. Treadway Industries had the ultimate pleasure of taking part in the construction of the prison-like building. Setting the scene, we brought the exterior design to life through themed construction. We also worked on some of the interior exhibits including the jail cell and pirate life rooms. With general admission less than $25, this experience is an absolute steal.
7. National Museum of Mathematics – New York, New York
Using the curiosities of math and science, MO Math, or The National Museum of Mathematics, makes math fun! The museum features interactive exhibits like no other, featuring games and puzzles all demonstrating the power of mathematics. From riding a tricycle with square wheels to painting on a digital canvas, the whole family will have the experience of a lifetime exploring the wonders of math. Touted as one of the most fun museums in the nation, a $17 admission is an impassable opportunity.
6. Museum of Death – Hollywood, California and New Orleans, Louisiana
Located in both Hollywood, California and New Orleans, Louisiana, the Museum of Death flourishes on macabre curiosities. Once located in San Diego, California’s first mortuary in a building previously owned by the famed Wyatt Earp, this museum has had life since 1995. The Museum of Death boasts “the world’s largest collection of serial killer artwork, antique funeral ephemera, mortician and coroner instruments, Manson family memorabilia, pet death taxidermy, crime scene photographs, and so much more! (About.)” If you’re a horror or true crime fan, you will get a kick out of this strange attraction. Both locations hold unique, once in a lifetime items, so if you have an extra $17 and are in the area, don’t be afraid to drop in.
“About The Museum Of Death.” Museum of Death. 2018.
5. The Museum of Pop Culture – Seattle, Washington
The Museum of Pop Culture, once known as EMP (or Experience Music Project), located in Seattle, Washington, is one of the best museums I have personally experienced. The building was designed by world famous architect, Frank Gehry, with the abstract form of a broken guitar. Guests can explore popular culture through movies, music, video games, and more. What defines pop culture? What makes our culture what it is? Find out by exploring exhibitions like “Sound Lab,” “Infinite Worlds of Science Fiction,” and “Scared to Death: The Thrill of Horror Film.” I promise, you will not be disappointed. This museum is worth the $26 price of admission, creating memories that will last a lifetime.
4. The Dali Museum – St. Petersburg, Florida
Surrealist art at its best, the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida transports visitors into the melty and abstract mind of Salvador Dali. Featuring exhibits dedicated to objects, prints, photographs, paper works, paintings, and book illustrations, all produced by Dali himself, this museum is a treasure trove. The architecture of the building is inspired by Dali paintings with bubbling glass surfaces from a concrete-like structure. Visitors may interact with a giant Dali mustache and melting bench in the “Avant-Garden” and hang wishes on a wishing tree. With a $24 admission, this museum is a hit for children and adults alike.
3. The Kennedy Space Center – Cape Canaveral, Florida
If you love space and the idea of space travel, Kennedy Space Center is the museum for you. You can explore our past, present, and future among the stars with their next-level exhibits. On Florida’s Space Coast in Cape Canaveral, you can stand next to some of the biggest rocket types ever sent into space. Experience educational films about the history of the Space Race or the last 30 years of NASA’s Space Shuttle program. I know when I visited, I stood in awe of the Atlantis space shuttle for at least 10 minutes. Imagine seeing the burn marks from exiting and re-entering the atmosphere on something that has left the bounds of our planet. Explore NASA’s incredible technology and leave with a cool keepsake from their gift shop! If you’re ever on the Space Coast, the $57 admission is completely worth the inspiration and curiosity you will feel upon entering.
2. The American Museum of Natural History – New York, New York
If you are at all like me, you love anything to do with the wonder surrounding Earth’s past. In New York, New York, you can explore just that at the American Museum of Natural History. Visit exhibits like, “Unseen Oceans” featuring the “alien world that lies hidden beneath the sunlit surface” or “Our Senses” where you can explore the bounds of your own five senses in funhouse-like spaces. Of course, this museum features plenty of permanent exhibits on ancient fossils, minerals, forests, biodiversity, culture, and space, as well. For its location in the Big Apple, a $23 admission is nothing to scoff at, and it will ensure a fun, educational day.
1. Museum Hack – New York City, San Francisco, Washington D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles
Museum Hack is not one single museum; however, it does reinvent the museum experience. Exploring the best museums on Earth is exciting again, thanks to the tour guides that make up the company. They take visitors on wild rides, both educational and foolish, through museums like The Metropolitan Museum of Art or The Getty Center, telling the juiciest secrets about the artists and collectors of each institution. With a slogan like, “MUSEUMS ARE F***ING AWESOME,” it’s hard to imagine a tour wouldn’t be exciting! If you think museums are boring, visit a Museum Hack experience and think again! Tour admissions vary from city to city, so check out the one nearest to you!
Coral is Treadway Industries’ Design & Development Assistant. She is a native Floridian with an ingrained appreciation for theme parks, entertainment, and design. Her hobbies include art, jumping around to local festivals, and spending time with her cat, Bonnie.