Weird, wacky – and sometimes, just plain eerie! You may not find Pennsylvania’s quirky attractions in your typical travel guide, but their colorful names, spooky stories and unexplained phenomena are an integral part of roadside Americana. From a giant shoe to a haunted dress, a medical museum to a snake lover’s dream, Pennsylvania’s quirkiest attractions prove why it is truly the State of Independence.
The Mütter Museum - Philadelphia and the Countryside
The Mütter Museum is a riveting storehouse for the anatomically strange. The Museum’s display of 20,000 provocative items is designed to give a beneath-the-surface perspective of what physicians study — and it’s not always pretty. Inside the museum, you’ll find a wide smattering of abnormal body parts preserved in fluid and skeletal formations — like that of a 7’6” man — that don’t seem quite possible. Connections to the famous include Marie Curie’s electrometer, Dr. Benjamin Rush’s medicine chest and, most spectacularly, the death cast of Chang and Eng, the original “Siamese Twins,” whose autopsy was performed in the museum.
Amos the Giant Amish Man - Dutch Country Roads
Amos the Giant Amish Man stands 15 feet tall and lives outside the Hershey Farm and Restaurant Inn, located in Strasburg. In one hand he holds a giant rake, and the other hand he extends as a friendly gesture to all those that travel through the PA Dutch Country.
Ringing Rocks Park - Philadelphia and the Countryside
Upper Black Eddy
Ringing Rocks Park, located in the far north of Bucks County, is the most famous of several Pennsylvania fields of igneous rock which produce variously pitched ringing sounds when hit with hammers or other rocks. For years, occultists have touted Ringing Rocks as a near-lifeless area of paranormal activity, a convergence of ley lines where compasses won't work properly. Although scientists don't know exactly why the rocks sound like they do, plenty of flora, fauna and beautiful waterfalls can be enjoyed in the approximately 100-acre area.
Gravity Hill - The Alleghenies
Gravity Hill, located in the suburbs of New Paris, is a gravitational phenomenon. This experience proves that gravity has gone haywire. Water flows the opposite way and cars glide uphill! There are no explanations for this oddity, and this attraction is completely free to explore.
The Weather Discovery Center - Pennsylvania Wilds
The Weather Discovery Center excites and educates visitors about the old and new ways of predicting and studying weather. Kids and adults alike pass through the door of a 12-foot tall tree stump and into Phil’s famous burrow, completely immersing themselves in groundhog culture and science. Through interactive, hands-on exhibits, visitors learn about tornadoes, thunderstorms, meteorology, winds, weather folklore and more.
Clyde Peeling’s Reptiland - Valleys of the Susquehanna
Clyde Peeling’s Reptiland is an AZA accredited zoo specializing in reptiles and amphibians. Since opening in 1964, Reptiland has provided the public a link to the less-loved members of the animal kingdom. Visitors experience daily feedings and touch a variety of reptile skins to feel the difference between turtles, snakes and crocodiles. Featured exhibits include Ask the Gecko Expert, Learn to Speak Croc Talk, Sidewinding and Frogs in Crisis.
Haines Shoe House - Dutch Country Roads
Haines Shoe House along the Lincoln Highway is a home stuffed into a white, 25-foot stucco boot. Colonel Haines built the “Shoe Wizard” in 1947 as a wild advertising ploy. Today, the house can be toured by appointment, Friday through Sunday, and offers locally made ice cream and treats courtesy of Beck’s Ice Cream and Mellie’s Makery.
The Haunted Wedding Dress - The Alleghenies
The Haunted Wedding Dress of the Baker Mansion can be seen as part of Blair County Historical Society's museum. Legend has it that this was the wedding dress for the daughter of Mr. Bell, a prominent, local man. Bell founded and gave his name to the nearby town of Bellwood. Over the years, the wedding dress has gained a reputation as being haunted. Visitors claim to have seen the wedding dress move within its glass case.
McDonald’s Big Mac Museum Restaurant - Pittsburgh and its Countryside
Titled “the most tasteful museum in the world,” the combo museum and restaurant features the world’s largest Big Mac statue (measuring 14 feet high and 12 feet wide), and hundreds of historic artifacts and high-tech exhibits that celebrate the Big Mac, which was invented 40 years ago in Uniontown by Jim Delligatti. The unusual museum is located outside of Pittsburgh, on Route 30 near the Pennsylvania Turnpike Irwin Exit.
Pizza Brain - Philadelphia and the Countryside
Pizza lovers can explore the crispy, charred inner recesses of America’s favorite food at the world’s first pizza culture museum and shop, Pizza Brain. The Fishtown attraction and eatery boasts the largest collection of pizza-related items in the world, with more than 550 artifacts in rotation, earning it a coveted Guinness World Record. Among the curated and chronologically organized collection, people can find a Starship Enterprise pizza cutter, historical advertisements, LPs and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action figures. Pizza Brain educates eaters about the cultural impact of the famed Italian import while serving up gas oven-fired pies that have earned nods from the national press.
Mister Ed’s Elephant Museum & Candy Emporium - Dutch Country Roads
Mister Ed’s Elephant Museum & Candy Emporium is a one-of-a-kind attraction that you do not want to miss on your trip to Gettysburg, Pa. Located just 12 miles from town, Mister Ed’s features more than 700 varieties of candy, 70 flavors of fudge and more than 12,000 elephant figurines on display. You can also grab freshly roasted nuts to snack on as you take a walk through the gardens, or enjoy one of the special events that are hosted throughout the year. A trip to Mister Ed’s is sure to be an unforgettable experience.
The Stoogeum - Philadelphia and the Countryside
The Stoogeum is a high-quality destination that honors the kings of low-brow comedy. The Stoogeum is North America’s only permanent tribute to the comedy of Moe, Larry and Curley (and Shemp, Joe and Curly Joe). The 100,000-item museum in Ambler covers everything from Stooge-themed memorabilia, like pinball machines and breakfast cereal, to personal items such as Shemp Howard’s discharge papers and Larry Fine’s driver’s license. A steady stream of film shorts unspools in an 85-seat theater that once fans visit once, they will definitely be back for Moe.
Golden Roll Visitor Center - Dutch Country Roads
How did delicious, buttery potato rolls get their start? Experience how this PA favorite began at the Martin’s Visitor Center. The center features the original garage bakery where the first Famous Potato Bread and Rolls were made in 1955, along with the first delivery vehicle – a 1954 Dodge Coronet.