The Bunny Museum: That Place Everyone Needs To Visit Once
Tucked away in the sleepy mountain town of Altadena lies a delightful oddity: the world's largest collection.... of bunny objects. I recently had the hare-raising joy of visiting this curious destination. And it has to be said: if you're making a list of things that are truly only in LA, somewhere between sand sledding and Angelyne you'd have to include The Bunny Museum.
My 18-month-old daughter insisted on wearing her princess dress for the visit, which seemed strangely appropriate for such a quirky outing. Upon entering, we were immediately overwhelmed by a cacophony of cotton-tailed curiosities. Candace, the owner, welcomed us, along with Poppy, her friendly kitty. Poppy seemed to be in charge, and followed us through our tour, much to the delight of my toddler.
The Bunny Museum has a brand new location.
The Bunny Museum is somehow exactly what one expects and yet... still surprising. At the risk of redundancy, it is truly packed with bunny stuff. I had trouble taking pictures to adequately capture the sheer magnitude. It's curated “salon style", an old French style of displaying art. Several posters throughout explain: rather than neatly arranged individual pieces with lots of negative space in between, the shelves and walls are purposefully jam-packed, floor-to-ceiling, with bunnies.
However, there's order to the chaos. Shelves of salt and pepper shakers, an entire room of stuffed animals, a bookcase dedicated to Bugs (the bunny - obvi), cookie jars, jewelry, a kitchen full of dinnerware are just some of the objects to discover. Candace made sure I saw the many display cases of White House Easter eggs.
There are some funny little twists: “Alice’s Tunnel” is a metal pipe to look down with some surprise bunnies, and Candace recommended I peek in the “Chamber of Bunny Horrors.” It's marked specifically only for guests 13 and older. It was certainly a little freaky, but more Tim-Burton-spooky than Rob-Zombie-terror.
My daughter's favorite part was the room full of stuffed animals. It had several tables and chairs her size with bunny puzzles for her to play. It also held three real live bunnies, so this is where we spent the bulk of our time. The hopping stars of the museum were very sweet about her petting them, even when my daughter got a little intense with her affection. (We are working on "gentle.")
Find the bunny. Photo by author
Candace and her husband Steve started gifting each other bunny items for their anniversaries and opened the museum when their collection reached 8,000. They are now Guinness Record holders for owning the most bunny items, currently at 35,000. (Another visitor pointed out they saw 34,000 written somewhere in the museum, to which Candace replied "That was last year, and the collection has a way of multiplying.")
The museum holds several evening parties during the year, including for Easter, Halloween, and Christmas. (The 20th Anniversary Bunny Bash is March 20 at 7pm.) Admission for the parties is $18 a person but includes entrance to the museum as well as all you can eat or drink.
Bunnies, bunnies everywhere. Photo by author
If you've visited in the past, you should know that the current location is a new one. For many years the collection was displayed in Candace and Steve's house in Pasadena, and open only on holidays. Since opening this new space in Altadena, the museum has been able to open daily and accommodate many more visitors.
The museum is normally open 12pm-6pm Monday through Saturday, and 12pm-5pm Sundays. It's street parking only, but there is an arrangement with a nearby drugstore with a big lot that lets people park there. No bags or coats are allowed inside, but lockers are available for a dollar. Admission is $8 per person. Children under 4 get in for free, but it’s much better for older kids.
A lot of the stuff on display is fragile and there are “Do Not Touch” signs everywhere. Bringing my 18-month-old and expecting her not to grab every adorable bunny in sight was tricky, though we still had a great time.
Where there are bunnies, there are carrots.
While The Bunny Museum's space is not huge, there is A LOT to look at, so expect to spend an hour or so there. Combine it with Italian gelato around the corner at Bulgarini, and maybe a hike up at the Cobb Estate, and it's worth the trip to Altadena. I'll certainly hop on back soon. You can learn more about the Bunny Museum hare.
Photos courtesy of The Bunny Museum unless otherwise noted