Weird Museums That Welcome Dogs

Posted by Billy Francis

Part of the fun of road-tripping across the U.S. is the ability to stop and check out unique sights along the way. Whether you and your pup enjoy learning off-the-wall facts and history, or you’re on a mission to find the wackiest roadside attractions, these out-of-the-ordinary museums will exceed your expectations. See Mae West’s 1931 Chevrolet Housecar, 1,400 artfully decorated toilet seats, Alexander Hamilton’s hair, and nearly 7,000 types of mustard at these weird museums that welcome Fido to tag along.

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. 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, and 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.

Barney Smith’s Toilet Seat Art Museum

The Colony, TX
Photo by Barney Smith’s Toilet Seat Art Museum

Perhaps the oddest of the pet-friendly museums on our list, Barney Smith’s Toilet Seat Art Museum, is a wonder to behold. Located inside Truck Yard, a dog-friendly beer garden and food truck park, this off-the-wall museum showcases the life’s work of Barney Smith, creator of over 1,400 art pieces made out of toilet seats. The collection of eclectic, whimsical and charming art gracing every inch of wall space was a seven decades-long venture for the artist who passed away in 2019. You and your pooch can check out the spectacle for free during your visit and grab a cold beer and bite to eat while you’re there.

Once Fido has marked “Toilet Seat Art Museum” off his bucket list, spend the night at Hampton Inn & Suites Dallas The Colony.

SPAM Museum and Gift Shop

Austin, MN
Photo by @rufflifeofrupert

Fido will have a “SPAMtastic” experience at the SPAM Museum and Gift Shop in Southern Minnesota. Small dogs that can be carried are invited to join their owners on a self-guided tour through nine galleries with interactive games and photo opportunities. You’ll learn fun facts and history about this iconic American food. After your tour, check out all the official SPAM merchandise and purchase some swag to take home including a branded canine ball and thrower set or a bandana for your pup. The museum is free to visit.

Purchase a recipe book and some SPAM to-go and bring them back to this guest house with a full kitchen, located just blocks from the museum.

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 Best Western Plus Coastline Inn. Your pooch can patrol the pet relief area to make sure no gangsters are hiding in the bushes before bedtime.

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, the Goat Brothers’ heads, a Bigfoot imprint, Houdini’s Ouija board, a ghost deer, and countless bizarre movie props. During your visit, you can view the cabinet of curiosities, experience an authentic Van De Graaff generator and get your picture taken inside the jaws of a shark. Leashed dogs are 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.

National Mustard Museum

Middleton, WI
Photo by @nationalmustardmuseum

If you love learning unique facts, you’ll enjoy a tour through the National Mustard Museum in Wisconsin. Known as the world’s largest collection of mustard, it features more than 6,090 varieties from all 50 states and 70 countries! Leashed canines are welcome to join you on a stroll through this one-of-a-kind museum where you’ll find an ever-growing display of mustard and memorabilia. Once you’ve learned all the fun facts about this favorite condiment, explore recipes and serving suggestions and shop for National Mustard Museum merchandise and your favorite mustards to take home. The self-guided tour is free for dogs and humans.

See what mustards are on offer during dinner at The Village Green before settling down for the night at Staybridge Suites Middleton Madison.

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 road-tripping, 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 1920s, including Mae West’s 1931 Chevrolet Housecar, a 1931 Tennessee Traveler Motorhome, and a 1969 Fleetwood Pace Arrow. 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. 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 purchased from the museum’s gift shop. Leashed dogs are welcome to explore the unique collection.

Located minutes from downtown Gatlinburg, this 2-bedroom cabin is the ideal place to try out your new salt and pepper shakers. After dinner, soak in the hot tub and enjoy the views of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Have you visited a weird pet-friendly museum? Leave a comment or tweet us @BringFido!

Banner photo by @echo_the_adventure_papillon.