Visit any country in the world and you can bet your bottom dollar it’ll have museums you could spend a whole morning meandering through. The world’s weirdest museums, though? When it comes to extraordinary niches, you’ll learn more than you could have ever expected (or maybe even wanted to, in some cases).
Amen to ramen.
At the Cup Noodles Museum you can slurp up all the flavor. From a factory where you can make chicken ramen and create your own packaging design to a tunnel full of instant noodles and an exhibition celebrating Momofuko Ando — the creator of this culinary delight — you’ll feel like Willy Wonka. If Willy Wonka worked with wheat flour. (Try saying that after a few sakes) Located in Ikeda, a city in Osaka, Japan, this place has literally oodles of noodles. (Sorry, not sorry).
Spend a little dough on culture
Still hungry? Based in Baden-Württemberg, the toast of the small city of Ulm is Museum Brot und Kunst (Museum of Bread and Art). Yum. Sandwiched between Stuttgart and Munich, here you can sample a slice of 6000 years’ worth of bread history. Plus a few Picassos. With over 18,000 exhibits ranging from the Stone Age to present day, this charitable foundation won’t disappoint. You can’t eat any of the artifacts though (and they don’t sell food), so use your loaf and bring your own lunch.
Get saucy in Louisiana…
A couple of hours’ drive west from New Orleans, you’ll find a little-known town called Avery Island. Here you can tour the Tabasco museum and factory, where the famous hot sauce has been made for nearly a hundred and fifty years. Avery Island stands on a deep salt dome, while the museum’s peppered with information on this family-run business. You can visit the greenhouse and 1868 restaurant for some Tabasco-infused tastes too.
Can I get a bun, bitte?
Germany’s favourite sausage has a place specifically dedicated to it. If this collection about Currywurst isn’t on the list of weirdest museums, I don’t know what is. Just as Checkpoint Charlie marks the separation of east and west Berlin, take a three minute walk round the corner and you’ll find a place that unites Deutschland. Spice up your life at the smelling stations, pork yourself down on a sausage-shaped sofa to relax, or just enjoy learning about the history of this wunderbar wiener. Hot diggity dog.
If all that food has gone right through you, take a trip to a wondrous world of water closets. At the Sulabh International Museum of Toilets you won’t be caught short. Here you’ll find gold-plated Roman receptacles, chamber pots for medieval movements, and contemporary commodes. Charting the history of hygiene and sanitation from 2500 BC to present day, this New Delhi museum was founded in 1992 by Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak. A social reformer, he set it up through his foundation to educate others on the importance of access to clean toilets. So you’re not dropping your entrance fee down the pan — you’re helping others at the same time.
Driven round the bend
The National Poo Museum. Oh yes, this exists. In real life. Although the exhibits on display here aren’t fresh, they’re definitely a turn up for the books (and maybe your noses). This place takes a plop, skip and a jump right onto the list of weirdest museums. You can get to the Isle of Wight from London for the day quite quickly, and discover more about this sticky subject. The museum aims to break the taboo of poo, instead educating people about this organic matter. No ifs, no butts — it’s certainly an intriguing place to go.
What lies beneath…
If you want to dive even further into the world of waste, head to Paris. There, under the magnificent romance of the Eiffel Tower, you can explore the Paris Sewer Museum: a maze of tunnels along a 500 meter path. How about that for contrast? Learn about the 14th-century sewer system all the way up to its modern structure, and visit the gift shop on your way out. (Well, at least you can get a sanitary souvenir).
Under the sea
For an underground experience without the smell, go to Cancún. At the Museo Subacuático de Arte (MUSA), you can see over 500 life-sized sculptures on the bottom of the ocean floor. Take a tour in a glass-bottomed boat, or go snorkelling or scuba diving.
Finally, if you love to judge, the Museum of Bad Art in Boston is the place for you. Celebrate pitiful paintings, sad sculptures, and other mediocre mediums in all their glory. Just 5 minutes on the subway from Harvard, this is Massachusetts’ other monument of greatness.