There’s something oddly engaging about exhibitions featuring strange and offbeat topics. Keep the attention of your kids at these three weird museums — you may even get the approval of your teens.
In Paris, the Musée des Vampires is located at 14 Rue Jules David. Privately owned and operated, it’s a one-stop shop for all things vampire, with guided tours and its own dinner club. Reservations are required for tours, and are only available for up to 10 guests at a time. Opening times are 12:30–8 p.m., with three tours available at 12:30, 3 and 7:30 p.m.
The dinner club operates nightly 8 p.m. until midnight (naturally). What happens after the clock strikes 12 a.m. isn’t mentioned on the website, but patrons are invited to come dressed in their best period frock or vampire attire, including stand-up collar velvet capes. Along with a full, multicourse meal, guests (again, a maximum of 10) are treated to a guided tour; their choice of an edgy, vampire-appropriate group name; and a selection of vampire-related themes to discuss while savoring their meal. Reservations may be made via email through the museum’s website.
For a completely different experience, head to the Chinsekikan in Chichibu, Japan. The town is about a two-hour journey from Tokyo, and also the location of the Kinshoji Temple, one of the 34 temples on the Chichibu Kannon Pilgrimage route. The museum’s name translates to the “hall of curious rocks,” and that’s exactly what you’ll find inside — more than 1,700 in total. While all the rocks have some distinctive idiosyncrasy, more than half of the rocks also bear a strong resemblance to a human face.
Founded by the late Shozo Hayama and run today by his wife, Yoshiko Hayama, the museum’s collection was amassed by Shozo with the requirement that each rock be completely unaltered, unenhanced and presented in its natural condition. While you’re there, challenge your kids to find rocks that resemble Aunt Beth, Uncle Aaron or their favorite actors and pop stars. Or, let your kids come up with names: Yoshiko Hayama invites visitors to suggest names for the many unnamed rocks on display.
At Thompson’s Point in Portland, Maine, you can dive into the world of Bigfoot at the International Cryptozoology Museum. Exhibits include zoological specimens and hair samples the museum claims once belonged to various Yeti-like beings, including Abominable Snowmen, Bigfoot, Yowie and the elusive Orang Pendek; along with art, film props, models, contemporary souvenirs and artifacts such as a letter from actor Jimmy Stewart. This spring, the museum will host the Sasquatch Symposium. Check the website for dates and details.
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