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You Won’t Believe These 12 Bizarre Museums in California Exist

California is famous for its beaches and big cities but it’s also home to some of the most unusual and quirky museums you can imagine. 

From a mansion filled with mysterious rooms to a museum dedicated to bunnies, these places are full of surprises. 

In this article, we’ll take you on a tour of 12 of the weirdest and most interesting museums in California. 

Numbers #3,#5,#6 & #9 are the ones in NorCal and the rest are the ones in SoCal.

Whether you’re into creepy history, legendary creatures or just love seeing unique collections, there’s something here for everyone. 

Get ready to discover the hidden gems that make California truly one-of-a-kind!

1. Museum of Death

Jennifer Boyer / Flickr

The first museum on our list is located in Hollywood, Los Angeles and it’s not for the faint hearted!

As the name suggests, this museum is all about death and shows many things related to it. 

You can see the guillotine used for executions as well as letters from famous serial killers. 

Rusty Blazenhoff / Flickr

There are also real photos of crime scenes & morgues, body bags and autopsy videos. 

The museum aims to educate people about death in an informative way.

Admission: $20

2. The Bunny Museum

daleeast / Flickr

Our next quirky museum is The Bunny Museum which is located in Altadena near Los Angeles.

This museum is all about rabbits and has the largest collection of rabbit-related items in the world. 

In fact, they have over 46,000 pieces of rabbit-related items! 

daleeast / Flickr

Their collection made it into the Guinness Book of World Records.

You’ll be able to see thousands of bunny figurines, stuffed animals and toys. 

daleeast / Flickr

Some stand out exhibitions include a 2,000 year old ring, amulets and the wooden eggs used at the annual White House Easter Egg Roll. 

There are also live rabbits and cats that you can meet. 

Admission: Adults – $12, Kids – $8

3. Bigfoot Discovery Museum

tosh chiang / Flickr

The Bigfoot Discovery Museum is a super interesting place, located in Felton, near Santa Cruz. 

This museum is dedicated to the legend of Bigfoot, a mysterious creature said to inhabit forests.

You can see footprint casts and hair samples that some believe come from Bigfoot.

There are also videos and stories from people who claim to have seen Bigfoot in the flesh.

It’s an exciting place for anyone interested in the mystery and lore surrounding Bigfoot.

Admission: Free

4. First Original McDonald’s Museum

Jeremy Thompson / Flickr

The First Original McDonald’s Museum, also often referred to as the Unofficial McDonald’s Museum, is located in San Bernardino. 

It’s actually located on the site of the first ever McDonald’s location which was opened in 1940 by the McDonald brothers.

Jeremy Thompson / Flickr

This museum is all about the history of McDonald’s, the famous fast-food chain. 

You can see old uniforms, vintage Happy Meal toys and original menus from when McDonald’s first started. 

There are also photos and documents showing how McDonald’s has changed over the years. 

Jeremy Thompson / Flickr

The museum is a fun place for anyone who loves McDonald’s and wants to learn more about its past.

Admission: Free

5. Winchester Mystery House

Mike Shelby / Flickr

The Winchester Mystery House is a spooky mansion and museum located in San Jose. 

The house was originally a farmhouse but was remodeled into a huge mansion by wealthy widow Sarah Winchester, who kept adding rooms for 36 years. 

This mansion is supposedly haunted and is famous for its strange architecture and countless rooms. 

You can explore its winding hallways, secret passages and staircases that lead to nowhere. 

Some believe she did this to confuse spirits she thought were haunting her. 

The Winchester Mystery House is a fascinating place full of history and mysteries.

Admission: $40 – $45

6. Hand Fan Museum

The intriguing Hand Fan Museum is located in Healdsburg, about 70 miles north of San Francisco.

This museum is all about hand fans from different times and places including some really quirky-looking fans.

Sarah Stierch / Flickr

You can see beautifully decorated fans from the 18th century and unique fans made from different materials like silk, paper, feathers and wood. 

There are also fans used by famous people. 

Admission:  Free

7. Ripley’s Believe It or Not!

Wearn / Flickr

Ripley’s Believe It or Not! is located in Hollywood, Los Angeles although they do have many other sites. 

This museum is all about strange and amazing things from around the world. 

You can see a two-headed calf, shrunken heads from ancient tribes as well as rare animal skeletons.

Eden, Janine and Jim / Flickr

There are also exhibits on unusual art, like paintings made from jelly beans. 

The museum features many oddities, curiosities and incredible facts that are hard to believe but true. 

It’s a fun and exciting place for people who love weird and wonderful things.

Admission: $25.99

8. Louie Mattar’s Fabulous Car

Ben’s Journey To Photography / Flickr

Louie Mattar’s Fabulous Car is an exhibit located in San Diego at the San Diego Automotive Museum. 

This exhibit is all about the unique car created by Louie Mattar in the 1940s. 

He designed it to be the ultimate road trip vehicle that could drive over 6,000 miles over 7 days without needing to stop the car a single time.

Thomas Cook / Flickr

You can see the 1947 Cadillac that Mattar modified to drive nonstop for thousands of miles. 

The car includes special features like a shower, washing machine, a bar, a stove and even a drinking fountain. It could even re-fuel itself!

There are also displays showing the tools and gadgets he used to build the car.

Admission: $15.50

9. Aftel Archive of Curious Scents

Jane Hammons / Flickr

The Aftel Archive of Curious Scents is located in Berkeley. 

This museum is all about the art and history of perfumes and scents. 

As you wander around, you’ll be able to smell many rare and unusual fragrances from around the world. 

Jane Hammons / Flickr

There are also antique perfume bottles and tools used to create scents. 

You can even learn about the ingredients that go into making perfumes and the best bit is that you’re allowed to take 4 scents home with you.

Admission: Adult – $25, Kids – $15.

10. The Wende Museum

Craig Dietrich / Flickr

The Wende Museum is located in Culver City, near Los Angeles. 

This museum is dedicated to preserving artifacts from the Cold War era. 

You can see original pieces of the Berlin Wall and Soviet propaganda posters. 

Dan DeLuca / Flickr

The museum also has collections of East German clothing and everyday household items from the Cold War period. 

There are even exhibits on how life was in Eastern Europe during that time. 

Admission: Free

11. Craftsmanship Museum

ATOMIC Hot Links / Flickr

The Craftsmanship Museum is located in Carlsbad which is approximately 36 miles north of San Diego.

This museum celebrates the art of craftsmanship and features a range of miniature models of engines, buildings and vehicles.

You can see everything from tiny, working engines to detailed ship models, all miniature but extremely detailed.

Chris Jepsen / Flickr

The museum also has intricate dollhouses and beautifully crafted tools. 

There are also some extremely interesting exhibits on master craftsmen and their techniques. 

Admission: Free

12. Historic Street Lighting Museum

I bet you never thought you’d come across a museum dedicated to street lamps but there is one in Los Angeles. 

This museum is all about the history of street lighting in the city and only opens once per month.

You’ll be able to see old gas lamps and early electric street lights. 

There are also ornate lamp posts from different eras and parts of Los Angeles. 

The museum showcases how street lighting has changed over the years and its impact on the city. 

Admission: Free (reservations required)


Sophie Davis

Born and raised in the Bay area of California, Sophie is a California native. She joined our team in 2023 to create travel guides on California.

Learn more about the Traveller's Elixir Team.

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