5 Unique Museums That Are Quirky, Yet Worth A Visit

Museums are a great way to experience the culture of a foreign destination. Although many vacation spots have rich histories, sometimes traditional museums can feel repetitive or disconnected. These unique museums offer visitors an educational experience, while also keeping their attention. 

unique museums dutch pinball
The Dutch Pinball Museum is a throwback to pinball machines in their heyday | MICHEILE HENDERSON

Dutch Pinball Museum (Rotterdam, Netherlands)

With a collection of 100 pinball machines, the Dutch Pinball Museum in Rotterdam is an old-school gamer’s dream. The machines date back to the early 1900s and have a vast variety of themes. From a 1948 ‘Alice in Wonderland’ machine to a 2018 ‘Deadpool Limited Edition,’ they have machines for every kind of player. Eighty of the machines are playable and the museum takes reservations for private groups or parties. 

Voorhaven 12, 3024 RM Rotterdam, Netherlands

unique museums
Sweet treats from the San Francisco Museum of Ice Cream’s signature ice cream line | ANNA-ALEXIA BASILLE

Museum of Ice Cream (San Francisco & New York, USA)

Offering an interactive and colorful experience, the Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco is fun for all ages. The immersive installations are seasonal and rotate. Previous installations have included a sprinkle pool for visitors to swim in, a 70s style pink diner and a rainbow room celebrating the city’s history of gay pride. The museum’s cafe offers special treats for every sweet-tooth, including its own line of signature ice cream flavors. There is also another location in New York, but for either, make sure to reserve a spot ahead of time online as these unique museums are quite popular. 

1 Grant Ave, San Francisco, CA 94108

unique museums Iceland
Grass covered roofs at the Museum of Skógar in Iceland | RENE BOINSKI

Museum of Skógar (Skógar, Iceland)

Located around a two hour drive from Reykjavik, the Museum of Skógar is a cultural heritage collection of 18,000 Icelandic artifacts. It is divided into three museums: the Folk Museum, Technical Museum and Open Air Museum. The Open Air Museum displays the history of Icelandic architecture through eight buildings, including a detailed traditional turf farmhouse and church.

It offers a real way to experience the rich history of Icelandic pioneers, by walking through it. The Folk Museum highlights fisheries, agriculture and household items. The Technical Museum showcases the evolution of transport, technology and communications. These three unique museums combine to give a well-rounded understanding of what everyday Skógar life was like.

Safnavegur 1, 861 Skógar, Iceland

Cancun Underwater Museum (Cancun, Mexico)

The Cancun Underwater Museum of Art – MUSA showcases hundreds of  sculptures submerged in the Caribbean Sea. These ‘galleries’ are in Manchones, Punta Nizuc or Punta Sam. They can be viewed by snorkeling or scuba diving. Tours in a glass-bottomed boat are available as well, providing visitors a unique way to view the ocean without having to get in.

The museum was created with the goal of preserving the coral reefs and preventing them from being damaged by divers and tourists. It offers an alternative place of exploration for visitors, while still enjoying what the ocean has to offer. Each sculpture is made of material that fosters coral growth and encourages marine life. 

Cerrada Las Golondrinas, Alfredo V. Bonfil # 24, 77560 Cancún, Q.R., Mexico

unique museums
An installation at the CupNoodles Museum in Japan | MATT & CHRIS PUA

CupNoodles Museum (Yokohama, Japan)

Nissin’s CupNoodles Museum in Yokohama is much more than old ramen containers. This beautifully designed, unique museum tells the history of CupNoodles, but keeps visitors hands-on. Sleek factories in the museum let guests make their own noodles by hand or design their own packaging. In the museum movie theater, the compelling story of instant noodle inventor Momofuku Ando plays. Guests can even experience the journey of a noodle themselves in CupNoodles Park. 

2 Chome-3-4 Shinko, Naka Ward, Yokohama, Kanagawa 231-0001, Japan

-Annie Lancaster