Quirky museum visits across the globe

Date Posted: 18/05/2012

Pictured: The Toy Museum, Prague is home to the world's second largest collection of
Barbie dolls.

With museums across the world celebrating International Museum Day, we take a look at some quirky museum visits which will put an unusual spin on any group holiday.

Every year on the 18th May, museums all over the world are invited to come together for International Museum Day. This year’s theme is ‘museums in a changing world’.

Here, we take a look at a selection of the world’s most quirky museums, all relating to different stages of life, from childhood to old age. Why not tie in a visit when planning your next group holiday?

Toy Museum, Prague

Fun for groups of all ages, the Toy Museum in Prague Castle promises a journey back in time. You’ll find traditional Bohemian toys, like cars, bikes, planes and train engines, and there’s even a whole floor dedicated to Barbie.

The museum boasts the second largest collection of Barbie dolls in the world; look out for the Spice Girls, the Avon Ladies and even a Donald Trump Ken doll.

Group accommodation options: The four-star Hotel Popelka is on the same side of the river as the Toy Museum and Prague Castle. Its central location is an ideal base for exploring all of Prague’s quirky sites.

El Portillo Visitor Centre, Tenerife

This unusual museum is set within the impressive grounds of the Teide National Park, where you can take a group excursion in the form of a camel trek over the still hot ground surrounding the volcano.

Watch footage of the violent eruptions that destroyed nearby villages, while children will love the interactive displays. The whole museum is designed to look like it’s within a volcanic tunnel, and if you’re lucky you might see the colony of lizards that live just outside.

Group accommodation options: A short drive away is the lively resort of Playa de las Americas. Stay in the Mexican-themed Hotel Villa Cortes, where groups can enjoy ocean views and its Mayan pyramid.

The Tattoo Museum, Amsterdam

In a city chock-full of museums it can be difficult to stand out from the crowd. One museum that does just this is Amsterdam’s Tattoo Museum. The collection is spread across three buildings in the Plantage district of Amsterdam, housing everything from tattoo machines, hand tools and body art photography, to the actual skin the tattoo was inked onto.
Opened in 2011 by tattoo artist Henk ‘Hanky Panky’ Scchiffmacher, who has designed Red Hot Chilli Peppers tattoos, amongst other celebrities, groups can even go along to get inked by one of the resident artists. Pick a motif out from the museum’s library, which reportedly holds the largest collection of tattoo books anywhere in the world.

Group accommodation options: The Hampshire Lancaster hotel sits within the green museum quarter of Plantage, close to other large museums and directly opposite the city’s Artis Zoo.

Sex Machine Museum, Prague

Just decades ago this sort of museum wouldn’t have existed at all, and is definitely for adult groups only. Prague’s Sex Machine Museum (or SMM) is located in the city’s Old Town and opened in 2002.

Reportedly the world’s only sex museum dedicated entirely to erotic machines, group travel organisers should note that it's certainly not one for the faint-hearted, and with exhibits such as the Asian Magic Box and 16th century chastity belts, it will make any group break to Prague one to remember.

Group accommodation options: The elegant Paris Hotel Prague is a five-star hotel close to the SMM and many of the city’s other quirky attractions.

Sant Antoni I el Dimoni Museum, Majorca

Sa Pobla has been holding an annual festival dedicated to Saint Antony and the Demons since the 14th century. The festival itself takes place every year on the 17th January, with bonfires, dancing, food and folk songs, with many of the island’s towns getting involved.

This quirky museum brings the legend and the festival to life, with videos, photographs and artefacts shedding light on this colourful and longstanding tradition.

Group accommodation options: The Roc Boccaccio Hotel overlooks Lake Esperanza in the nearby northern town of Alcudia, known for its great range of water sports and beaches.

Museum of Funeral Carriages, Barcelona

Barcelona is home to an impressive array of sights, from Gaudi’s famous architecture to the Picasso Museum. In spite of its ghoulish theme, the Museum of Funeral Carriages has established itself as a must-see for group travellers looking for something on the macabre side.

Its entry procedure makes the whole experience feel even shadier, with visitors having to make their way to Barcelona’s Municipal Funeral Service; from here a security guard leads the way. The museum is full to the rafters with carriages dating back to the 18th century, all manned by creepy mannequins.

Group accommodation options: The Ayre Caspe Hotel is a modern and spacious hotel in the El Born district of the city, a couple of blocks away from the Funeral Carriage Museum and within easy walking distance of Las Ramblas and the Sagrada Familia.

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