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13 Cool Museums with Very Specific Collections

BY: ANDY SEIFERT | 8.30.2017 |

Sometimes the best museums to visit aren't the massive (and often-crowded) ones, but the smaller ones with a strangely specific focus. These cool museums are often more impressive than their larger counterparts because of their intense devotion to the subject, an obsession that often comes across as charmingly passionate.

We scoured the country and found 13 museums singularly focused on its topic, each with a currently running deal should you want to visit yourself.

Albuquerque International Balloon Museum | Albuquerque, NM

Get the deal: Up to 40% Off Membership

New Mexico is America's hot air balloon capital, so the Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum fits right in, displaying everything from scientific observation balloons to miniature Zeppelins.

Can't-miss highlight: Soar above the clouds—virtually, at least—inside the Tim Anderson 4D Theater, which engages your sense of sight, sound, and touch.

Yogi Berra Museum | Little Falls, NJ

Get the deal: 50% Off Museum Admission

Photographs, sports memorabilia, and other artifacts from the life of YogI Berra, the all-time winningest player (and perhaps the most-famous catcher) in New York Yankees history.

Can't-miss highlight: The skybox overlooking Yogi Berra Stadium, home of the New Jersey Jackals CamAm League baseball team.

World of Chocolate Museum | Orlando, FL

Get the deal: Up to 35% Off Tour with Optional Coffee or Cocoa

This place is as whimsical as it sounds, with 25 chocolate sculptures (including Mt. Rushmore, the Eiffel Tower, the Great Wall of China), exhibits explaining the history of cocoa production, and a cafe with unique chocolates from around the world.

Can't-miss highlight: The Tasting Room is the part that you'll be hankering for. Sample bite-sized bits of nine different types of chocolates.

Dr. Pepper Museum | Waco, TX

Get the deal: Up to 40% Admission + 12-oz. drink

Dr. Pepper was invented in Waco more than 100 years ago, and this museum brings together vintage products, advertisements, and other memorabilia from its delicious history.

Can't-miss highlight: Frosty's Soda Shop, where you can taste handmade Dr. Pepper, plus a scoop of vanilla ice cream if you're in the mood.

American Banjo Museum | Oklahoma City

Get the deal: 50% Off Admission

A classic American instrument, the banjo has provided the twang for folk, country, and bluegrass artists for many decades. Explore the story of the banjo, from its beginnings among enslaved African Americans, to its folk heyday in the 1950s, at this downtown OKC museum.

Can't-miss highlight: The collection of banjos of the Jazz Age, when the instruments received extra ornamentation.

The Whale Museum | San Juan Islands, WA

Get the deal: 50% Off Admission

A museum entirely devoted to orcas (aka "killer whales), The Whale Museum is located in Friday Harbor on the San Juan Islands, making it a nice complement to a day of whale watching.

Can't-miss highlight: The full-length whale skeletons show just how massive these mammals can grow to.

Marietta Gone With the Wind Museum | Marietta, GA

Get the deal: Up to 39% Off Admission

This museum—located inside an 1875 warehouse just north of Atlanta—celebrates the Civil War romance Gone With the End, both an Academy Award-winning film and an epic novel. See memorabilia and ephemera from the movie, plus Margaret Mitchell's personal copies of her book.

Can't-miss highlight: The collection's Bengaline Honeymoon Gown, worn by actress Vivien Leigh while playing Scarlett O'Hara in the 1939 film.

National Farm Toy Museum | Dyersville, IA

Get the deal: Up to 48% Admission or Membership

Iowa's culture and economy is inextricably tied to farming, so much so that kids here grew up play with colorful toys depicting tractors and other farming equipment. This museum displays a massive collection of farm toys, plus a life-size John Deere.

Can't-miss highlight: A diorama of the evolution of Iowa farms over the past century.

The Presidential Culinary Museum | Grover, NC

Get the deal: 58% Off Museum Tour and Wine Tasting

Located at the Inn of the Patriots B&B, this private collection of former White House Chef Martin CJ Mongiello features First-Lady approved China, Revolutionary-era artifacts, and other Presidential dining memorabilia. 

Can't-miss highlight: Book an exclusive dinner prepared by the former personal chef of President Clinton.

Troll Hole Museum | Cleveland, OH

Get the deal: $10 for guided tour

Not far from the Rock n' Roll and Pro Football Halls of Fame is a different kind of hall of fame, the Troll Hole Museum. This is the Guinness World Record holder for a collection of trolls, with more than 10,000 specimens, plus a "troll grotto" and a troll mountain.

Can't-miss highlight: One of the 10,000 trolls is a troll version of Rod Stewart.

The Johnny Carson Birthplace | Corning, IA

Get the deal: 50% Off Admission

Heeeerreeeee's Johnny...'s birthplace! The legendary host of The Tonight Show was born in this humble home in rural Iowa. Inspect the rooms where he grew up, which have been restored to its 1925 condition.

Can't-miss highlight: Take a seat on the Lazy Boy and watch TV of (what else?) classic Tonight Show moments.

Museum of Broken Relationships | Los Angeles, CA

Get the deal: 10% Off Admission

One of the cool museums in LA is this unique collection, which displays mementos expressing the sting of bad breakups. Each keepsake is accompanied by an anonymous note telling the story of how that relationship fell apart.

Can't-miss highlight: Not all breakups are heart-wrenching—find the blue frisbee from Zagreb, Croatia and the humorous story attached to it.

Burger Museum | Miami, FL

Get the deal: Up to 52% Off Admission

Claiming to be the only museum in America dedicated to comfort food, Miami's Burger Museum has an impressive collection of antique advertisements, memorabilia, and other rarities from American fast food. Expect to feel nostalgic looking at old campaigns from Wendy's, Big Boy, In-N-Out, McDonald's, and more.

Can't-miss highlight: A vintage 15-foot hamburgers sign from Ohio, and a statue of the now-defunct McDonald's character Officer Big Mac.

Guide Staff Writer
BY: Andy Seifert Guide Staff Writer