A Few Most Peculiar Places

By: Heather

Peculiar Places - Bern Natural History Museum.

Peculiar Places – Bern Natural History Museum.

Ever visited a location and walked away thinking, “What was that?”. We recount four places we visited in 2015 that left us scratching our heads.

1. The Naturhistorisches (Natural History) Museum

The Naturhistorisches (Natural History) Museum in Bern, Switzerland etched itself in our brains forever. We walked away from this museum with the makings for a few fantastical animal nightmares. Like any other Natural History Museum, it was stuffed full of historical and scientific information, including a huge amount of fossils and animal exhibits. Educational wise we found the museum fascinating. However, it was the antiquated mountings, borderline scary dioramas of prey animals and dimmed lighting that found us feeling like we walked through a horror of offenses. Understand, the museum acquired many of their animal specimens years and years ago. The out-dated and timeworn samples were vivid reminders as to how far taxidermy has developed in the last century.

The Gallery of Bones consisted of 328 skeletons and skulls. It was a two story room containing some pretty impressive displays. The weird part was the red curtained spinning stage presenting several large animal skeletons. Essentially it was a merry-go-round of death, with a blacked out room behind it to highlight each skeleton; eerie as hell. We were the only ones in the gallery at the time, so a full room may lend a different experience.

Merry-Go-Round of Skeletons.

Merry-Go-Round of Skeletons.

While there don’t miss the C’est la Vie (That’s Life) exhibit. It may have been my favorite and the craziest part of the museum. The exhibit was an Instagrammers haven with a mixture of extremely peculiar modern, antique, animal and human interactions. It felt as if we had walked into someone’s very off-center dream. I think the best description of it was weirdly fantastic.

Dancing goat, C’est la Vie Exhibit.

Dancing Goat, C’est la Vie Exhibit.

2. The Icelandic Phallological Museum

It may be tiny in size, but The Icelandic Phallological Museum packs an experience you won’t soon forget. Located in Reykjavik, Iceland the gallery was filled wall to wall with over 200 petrified, preserved or molded penis samples. If you don’t think the stiffs on the wall are enough to motivate you, the collection also included penis art, penis knick-knacks, and penis related gifts. A huge tip to increase your fun, make a note to watch the other visitors as they tool around the joint. The conversations and reactions were just as entertaining.

Icelandic Phallological Museum.

Icelandic Phallological Museum.

P-Museum-03

Much more interesting than a stuffed deer.

An elephant penis…Much more interesting than a stuffed deer, right?

3. Petra’s Stone Collection

While in East Iceland we came across Petra’s Stone Collection in Stöðvarfjörður. We had very quickly skimmed a blurb somewhere about the museum and thought it had to do with Petra the Greek Goddess (Prime of example of not paying attention and misreading). Much to our surprise, the property was a huge collection of one woman’s, Petra Sveinsdóttir, compilation of local rocks, minerals, animals, and seashells. Petra vigorously started collecting at the age of 7 in 1929. Since that time, she amassed one of the largest private collections of geological specimens for display in the world. We walked into this place thinking it was going to be a boring rock museum. We walked out completely impressed with what we saw and utterly charmed with Petra’s life story.

Petra, herself, quite a woman.

A sculpture of Petra.

A small sample of her indoor collection.

A small sample of her indoor collection.

A small sample of her outdoor collection.

One of many sections of the outdoor garden collection.

4. Wall Drug Store

One of Midwest America’s biggest tourist traps, Wall Drug Store in Wall, South Dakota has been roping road trippers since 1931. Anyone who has driven across South Dakota has probably been lured into downtown Wall by the strategically placed Wall Drug Store advertisements placed congruously along the I-90 highway. Originally, built to serve as a simple drug store the establishment slowly turned into a Midwest travelers right of passage. The tiny town was designed to resemble an old west “Cowboys and Indians” scenario. Where else can one buy a 5 cent coffee, pick up free ice, ride a ginormous jackalope, and selfie with the presidents of Mt. Rushmore?

Wall-Drug-03

Heather and the infamous jackalope.

Heather and the infamous jackalope.

Almost presidentially believable.

Almost presidentially believable.

Travelasics

Naturhistorisches (Natural History) Museum in Bern

Admission: Adults – 8 CHF; Students, senior citizens, groups of 10+: 6 CHF; Free 15 y/o and under; Free with Swiss Pass Card
Hours: Check their website for updated hours
Helvetiaplatz Stop via Public Transport
Limited parking available for cars
About a 10 minute walk from the Kirchenfeldbrücke Bridge

Icelandic Phallological Museum

Admission: 1,000 Icelandic kronur ($8 USD) – Cash only
Hours: Check their website for updated hours
Located next to Hlemmur bus station

Petra’s Stone Collection

Admission: ISK 1000 for 14 years and older
Hours: May 1st. – September 30th 9.00-18.00
Address: Fjarðarbraut 21, 755 Stöðvarfjörður
Free parking available

Wall Drug

Admission: Free
Hours: Check their website for updated hours
Address: 510 Main Street, Wall, SD  57790

What was our weirdest travel adventure? Tell Us About it in the Comments.

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  1. Some interesting places here! My most memorable was the Hunterian museum in London, which houses a collection of human and animal anatomical specimens with a few peculiar items on display.

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