Pennsylvania is home to some weird and wacky attractions that may not be in your typical travel guide, but are sure to blow any Happy Traveler’s mind! Your Pennsylvania bucket list just may get a facelift after you read a roundup of our top 16 favorites.
1. Mütter Museum
Founded in 1863, the Mütter Museum provides the fearless a tour of thousands of items that span the medical realm — from deformed and diseased body parts to slides of Albert Einstein’s gloriously geeky brain. The museum displays its beautifully preserved collections of anatomical specimens, models, and medical instruments in a nineteenth century "cabinet museum" setting. Filled with some impossible-to-believe specimens, the collections are still used to advance medical science today!
2. The Pizza Brain
Pizza lovers unite at The Pizza Brain, the world’s first pizza culture museum and shop! The museum 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. Pizza Brain educates foodies about the cultural impact of the famed Italian import while serving up gas oven-fired pies to satisfy your appetite! They also stock a full range of unique, pizza-themed gear, clothes, and accessories for die-hard pizza lovers!
3. Ringing Rocks Park
Upper Black Eddy
Let the rocks sing! Ringing Rocks Park is the most famous of several Pennsylvania fields of igneous rock. The 10-foot rock piles produce variously pitched ringing sounds when hit with a hammer or other rocks. 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 123-acre park. For true thrill seekers, the nearby Ralph Stover State Park boasts one of PA’s three state-run rock climbing areas.
4. Clyde Peeling’s Reptiland
Get up close and personal with reptiles and amphibians at Clyde Peeling’s Reptiland, an AZA-accredited zoo. Reptiland allows visitors to catch a glimpse of the less-loved members of the animal kingdom through daily feedings and regularly scheduled shows, where you can even touch a variety of reptile skins to feel the difference between turtles, snakes, and crocodiles!
5. Trundle Manor
Billing itself as “The most unusual tourist trap in the world meets the most bizarre private collection on display,” a trip to Trundle Manor is a must-visit for those who love wacky, weird, and fun experiences. Tour the first floor of this private residence to gaze at all sorts of “unusual items” including jarred specimens, sadistic medical implements, bizarre weaponry, antique taxidermy specimens, coffins, and oh so much more! Tours are on evenings and weekends and by appointment only with donations requested (e.g., “money, taxidermy, dead things, killing implements, and even booze.”)
6. Mister Ed’s Elephant Museum & Candy Emporium
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! Located just a short distance from the historic downtown, Mister Ed’s features more than 900 varieties of candy, 100 flavors of fudge, and more than 12,000 elephant figurines on display. You can also grab freshly roasted peanuts to snack on as you take a walk through the gardens or enjoy one of the special events that are hosted throughout the year.
7. American Philatelic Center
Home to the American Philatelic Society — the largest nonprofit organization for stamp collectors in the world, the Center is part museum, part research library, and the renowned headquarters for stamp collecting hobbyists throughout the U.S. Located in a restored 19th-century match factory complex that’s on the National Historic Register, tour the historic Center to see stamps galore, learn some stamp collecting lingo, and view all sorts of U.S. mail- and stamp-related memorabilia including toys and vintage stamp dispensing machines.
8. The Stoogeum
The Stoogeum in Montgomery County is a unique destination that honors the kings of low-brow comedy. 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 covers everything from Stooge-themed memorabilia — including pinball machines and breakfast cereal — to personal items, such as Shemp Howard’s discharge papers and Larry Fine’s driver’s license. Plan ahead to visit because appointment dates and times to tour the facility are limited to certain weekdays each month and must be reserved ahead of time online.
9. The Big Mac® Museum
Located within a traditional McDonald’s restaurant, The Big Mac Museum pays homage to the iconic, all American sandwich, the Big Mac® with hands-on exhibits and historic memorabilia. Enjoy a Big Mac® and all your favorite McDonald's cuisine as you learn how the famous sandwich was created — while not at this location, still within the region! — and be sure to snap a selfie with the 14-foot tall Big Mac® statue.
10. Mack Truck Historical Museum
Calling all big rig truck buffs! Trucking fans can learn about how these powerful machines evolved over the years, including the history behind the iconic Mack Bulldog hood ornament, and view a collection of vintage Mack truck models and Mack memorabilia at the Mack Truck Historical Museum. Admission to the Mack Truck Historical Museum is free; however, a $5 donation per visitor is suggested and greatly appreciated!
11. Playthings Etc.
Step through the super cool, futuristic doors of Playthings Etc. and enter a toy realm unlike any other. Housed within a spaceship-shaped building, you’ll find thousand and thousands of toys, puzzles, and games — most of which you’ve likely never seen or experienced before. They pride themselves on finding unique toys with “high play value” that beg to played with over and over again. Prepare to spend several hours there because many of the 7,000 toys in their inventory are out of their packaging just waiting for you to try them out — from remote-controlled cars to rockets and magic. Playthings Etc. is more than just a store — it’s an out-of-this-world experience!
12. American Treasure Tour Museum
If you love a bit of kitsch mixed in with memorabilia from the country’s silent film era and circuses from days long past, along with century-old classic cars in pristine condition, dance hall organs, ornate dollhouses, and even an actual airplane, the American Treasure Tour Museum is a must for your bucket list! Featuring a treasure trove of Americana, the exhibits and displays are so many, large, and varied, you have to take a tram ride to see them all! See and hear “automatic music players” from days long past. Marvel at the castle made from 400,000 popsicle sticks. And feel free to snap photos as you sit back and enjoy the tram ride surrounded by happy surprises.
Sitting high atop Mount Penn, Reading’s legendary Pagoda has greeted visitors for more than 100 years. Built in 1908 as a luxury resort (which never actually happened) and topped with a Japanese bell cast in 1739, the Pagoda is one of the area’s prime tourist attractions with its stunning, 30-mile panoramic views. In recent years, the city has undertaken extensive renovations of the grounds and the Pagoda itself, including the installation of ADA-accessible parking and ramps. While the grounds are open to the public, interior renovations are on-going so check back often to learn when visitors will once again be allowed to climb the Pagoda’s seven stories.
Randyland is one of Pittsburgh’s most colorful and Instagrammable landmarks. Self-described as “an all outdoor courtyard museum of the heart (and the most painted house in the galaxy!),” Randyland offers a unique insight into the mind of its artist and owner, Randy Gilson — “An Outdoor Museum, A Yard Filled With LOTS Of Recycled, Repurposed, Found, Dumpster TREASURES, PAINTED IN 100s OF HAPPY BRIGHT COLORS. Kinda Like A Misfit Puzzle, Resembles The Owner.” Open from 10 a.m. to dusk, admission is free!
15. Goose Day
This isn’t the typical shenanigans of duck, duck, GOOSE! Goose Day was brought to the Juniata River Valley by an English settler in the late 1700s. Legend has it that consuming Goose on September 29, also known as Saint Michaelmas Day, will leave you with no money problems for the rest of the year. Join in on the celebration at nearby restaurants as they add goose to their menu items! Local businesses, organizations, and non-profits also get into the spirit by holding special promotions, events, and sales throughout September.
16. Schaefer’s Auto Art
Schaefer’s Auto Art proves the old adage that one person’s junk is another person’s treasure. With bits and pieces from discarded automobiles, Richard Schaefer has welded together a sculpture garden filled with his whimsical creations. Gigantic spiders and a bumblebee, a two-headed dragon that’s fishing, a rocketship, and welcoming “Automan” are among the amazing masterpieces. No charge for admiring the sculptures, they just ask visitors to respect and stay within the property’s boundaries.
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