Weird Museums That Welcome Dogs

Posted by Billy Francis

We all know dogs are weird and wonderful, so why not spend the day exploring a place that embraces the unusual? These mysterious museums welcome furry friends to explore uncanny exhibits and discover out-of-the-ordinary objects and oddities by your side.

International UFO Museum

Roswell, NM
“We could take ‘em.” Photo by @hellomynameisjens

For an out-of-this-world experience with your pup, look no further than the International UFO Museum in Roswell. Featured in the 2021 edition of our Ruff Guide to the United States, the museum is committed to chronicling the stories and preserving materials related to the infamous 1947 ‘Roswell Incident,’ as well as other UFO events from around the globe. Put a tin foil hat on Fido and bring him to the museum to explore decades of supernatural history, research, and science. Before you leave, stop by the gift shop to purchase an ‘Alien Hunter’ dog shirt for your canine earthling. Afterward, visit Roswell UFO Spacewalk to take your pooch on a blacklight adventure through a spaceship and alien planet. End the day with a stop at Alien Zone for more souvenirs and wacky photo ops.

If the thought of little green martians doesn’t scare Fido away, book a room at The Roswell Inn, the self-proclaimed crash pad recommended by 9 out of 10 aliens. The hotel is centrally located to Roswell’s dog-friendly UFO attractions and Woof Bowl Dog Park. Be sure to snap your pup’s photo beside the alien sign out front.

Trees of Mystery

Klamath, CA
Ace and Roxy, meet Babe. Photo by Melissa

Massive Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox statues stand guard outside the Trees of Mystery, one of Northern California’s most unique dog-friendly destinations. Located in the heart of Redwood National Park, this museum and nature attraction has been welcoming guests to explore the mighty redwoods up close since 1946. Measuring up to 20 feet in diameter, the massive trees are impressive to behold. Walk among 2,000-year-old behemoths with majestic monikers like The Brotherhood, Cathedral, and Elephant. When you’re finished staring up at giants, soar above the towering forest canopy on a 10-minute ride on the SkyTrail Gondola. Fido is welcome to climb aboard to experience the bird’s-eye view. Leashed pups are permitted in all areas except the Redwood Canopy Trail.

Continue taking in the scenic views on a 25-mile drive north along the Redwood Highway to the Anchor Beach Inn in Crescent City. The hotel offers double-queen ocean-view rooms for guests traveling with fur kids. During your stay, enjoy the sunset and an ice-cold brew on the dog-friendly deck at nearby SeaQuake Brewing. You may even spot a resident seal or sea lion on your walk around the harbor.

Museum of the Bizarre

Wilmington, NC
“I’ve got a bone to pick with you!” Photo by @leothegreatdog

If you’re looking for strange, weird, or unusual oddities, pay a visit to the Museum of the Bizarre in Wilmington, NC. The exciting exhibits on display include the Crystal Skull of Knowledge, Fort Fisher Mermaid, Alexander Hamilton’s hair, Goat Brothers’ heads, a Bigfoot imprint, Houdini’s ouija board, a ghost deer, and countless bizarre movie props. Your leashed pooch is welcome to witness the wild and mystifying eccentricities by your side.

Find much-needed normality with a comfortable room at Best Western Plus Coastline Inn on Cape Fear River, then take an evening stroll along the Riverwalk.

Seashore Trolley Museum

Kennebunkport, ME
"Are we going for a ride?" Photo by

Chug over to the world’s largest and oldest electric railway museum with your canine conductor and hop on board a restored street car at the Seashore Trolley Museum. Stroll with Fido through the visitor center, three public exhibit buildings and the observation gallery, where you can see restoration work taking place. Take your pup for a ride on one of several restored street cars that travel a 1.5-mile private railway. You can hop off and hike a nearby trail system and then complete the loop with a return ride to the visitor center. The museum is open from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm daily between May and October. After your visit, make your way to the Cape Porpoise Pier for a fresh seafood or Maine lobster dinner with your pup at the Cape Pier Chowder House.

Extend your dog-friendly Maine getaway with a night at The Colony Hotel in Kennebunkport. You’ll relish the spectacular ocean views from this historic coastal resort. Take a dip in the Atlantic Ocean or the hotel’s heated saltwater pool. Fido is free to play on the hotel’s private beach and explore the famous Maine tidal pools.

Gangster Museum of America

Hot Springs, AR
Gangster for life. Photo by @dresses_and_saltedpretzels

Hot Springs in Arkansas used to be a hotbed for the criminal underworld to get away from it all, including Al Capone, Owen Madden and the New York Connection. Drawn to the town’s mineral water, gambling and bootlegging industry, felons, thieves and vigilantes lived side by side with the locals. The Gangster Museum of America has seven galleries full of incredible artifacts and photographs from yesteryear. Snap memorable pics of your pooch with life-sized models of the town’s former guests, play in the antique casino and listen to the historian regale the crowd with incredible tales of the town’s secret history.

Sleep with the covers firmly pulled over your head at this bungalow near downtown. Your pooch can patrol the fenced backyard off-leash to make sure no gangsters are hiding in the bushes before bedtime.

National Buffalo Museum

Jamestown, ND
"I told you I was afraid of thunder!" Photo by @waggin_walt

Hit the highway on a dog-friendly road trip across North Dakota to visit several of the largest creatures on planet Earth. Your cross-state trek along I-94 begins at the National Buffalo Museum in Jamestown, where your pup can visit mighty Dakota Thunder, the world’s largest buffalo. While there, you can stroll through Frontier Village, a replica prairie town constructed using original buildings from frontier days. Drive west 50 miles to the tiny town of Steele to visit Sandy - The World’s Largest Sandhill Crane. After Fido feeds the bird, head 70 miles west to New Salem to moo at Salem Sue, the world’s largest Holstein Cow. Finally, take a quick detour off I-94 near Gladstone to cruise along the 30-mile stretch of asphalt called the Enchanted Highway. Dogs can stretch their legs at one of several giant roadside metal sculptures, including Deer Crossing, Grasshoppers in the Field, and Fisherman’s Dream.

After a long day of roadtripping, La Quinta Inn & Suites Dickinson is a great place to take a breather. In the morning, make your way to nearby Dickinson Dog Park for some off-leash exercise before continuing your road trip.

RV Motorhome Hall of Fame

Elkhart, IN
“I hope they have 'pup-up' campers.” Photo by @munsonandthebear

Canine campers and RV enthusiasts will enjoy taking a detour to the RV Motorhome Hall of Fame & Museum in Elkhart. The museum features a rotating assortment of vintage recreational vehicles from Airstream, Winnebago and other American makers. Stroll with Fido through the RV Founders Hall to explore vehicles and memorabilia dating back to the 1920’s, including Mae West’s 1931 Chevrolet Housecar, a 1931 Tennessee Traveler Motorhome, and a 1969 Fleetwood Pace Arrow. In the Exhibitor Hall, view displays illustrating the history and products of the manufactured housing industry. Before concluding your tour, be sure to check out the selection of shiny new motorhomes on showcase

Conclude your stay in the RV Capital of the World with an overnight stop at the Elkhart Campground. Fido will love romping around the on-site dog park, and humans will enjoy the heated swimming pool, miniature golf course, and other recreational amenities. Full hook-up and pull-through sites are available. If you don’t have an RV, you can stay in one of their pet-friendly cabins.

The Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum

Gatlinburg, TN
"Humans can be so weird." Photo by BringFido/Erin

The Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum in Gatlinburg boasts 20,000+ salt and pepper shakers of all shapes and sizes. From shakers based on Dogecoin to Betty Boop, there’s something for every seasoning supporter. The only museum of its kind in the world takes admission and applies it toward any salt and pepper shaker purchase from the museum’s gift shop. Leashed dogs are welcome to explore the unique collection.

Located less than a mile from downtown Gatlinburg, this cabin on Roaring Fork is the ideal place to try out your new salt and pepper shakers. After dinner, soak in the hot tub and enjoy the sound of water gushing past from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Ready for a Road Trip?

Photo by Linda Segerfeldt

The editors at BringFido have dedicated themselves to digging up the best dog-friendly things to do across the country. And we've assembled it all in our new book, Ruff Guide to the United States.

Now in its second edition, the book features over 365 of the best places to stay and play with your dog in all 50 states. Order your copy today and save 50% off the retail price when you use the discount code WEIRD.

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BringFido is committed to providing authentic dog-friendly content that our readers will love. We may at times receive compensation from our partners or use affiliate links to promote products and services featured on our blog. Banner photo by @echo_the_adventure_papillon.