Facebook/International Spy Museum
Have a James Bond or Jason Bourne-obsessed dad? Take him to the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C., for a most interesting and informative education about secret agents. Opened in 2002, the museum explores the craft, practice, history, and contemporary role of espionage through artifacts, exhibits, experiences, and events. Currently, visitors can learn about everything from creating and crafting covers to “The Secret History of History” to 50 years of Bond villains. Guests can also venture out on a GPS-guided spy tour of the city, or, for an additional fee, groups of up to 15 people (age 12+) can participate in a one-hour espionage-themed room escape called “Operation Spy!” Admission to the museum is $21.95 for adults ($28.95 with Operation Spy) and $15.95 for kids.
Facebook/LeMay - America's Car Museum
LeMay-America’s Car Museum in Tacoma, Washington, has only been around since 2012, but it’s the largest of its kind in all of the United States. With a price tag of $100 million and exhibit space covering 165,000 square feet, the museum has an enormous 350-car gallery featuring every style from a 1926 Model T to a 1983 Oldsmobile station wagon. That in-between also includes specimens like a 1930 Duesenberg Model J, a presidential motorcade limo, and a variety of luxury and muscle cars. The building also houses gift shops, restoration shops, lecture halls, a banquet room, a café, and an outside patio featuring views of Downtown Tacoma and the Olympic Mountains. The cost is $16 for adults, $14 for seniors and military, $12 for students, and $8 for kids 6-12.
Wikimedia Commons/Larry D. Moore/CC BY-SA 3.0
As advertised, this Austin attraction is one of the weirdest museums around — and Dad will enjoy it much more than any art exhibition. Inspired by the circus freak show days of P.T. Barnum, Texas’s Museum of the Weird contains artifacts like shrunken heads, two-headed chickens, one-eyed pigs, and the showman’s famous “Fiji Mermaid” and “Minnesota Iceman.” Tickets cost only $12 for adults and $7 for kids under 8, plus some discounted rates (all of which include guided tours) — or you can pay $18 for adults and $10 for kids to also get admission into the neighboring Sfanthor House of Wax.
For fathers who are fans of the sea, there’s no better museum than that of the Mystic Seaport in Connecticut. Not only did it open way back in 1929, but it is currently the largest maritime museum in the world and has a collection of sailing ships and boats that is unrivaled — as is its meticulous recreation of an entire nineteenth century seafaring village that includes more than 60 original historic buildings. And there’s more to the museum than just looking at things; the Seaport also offers sailing instruction and rides in various historical crafts. General admission costs $26 for adults, $24 for seniors, and $17 for kids age 6-17. Go in the last hour and the ticket price is cut in half.
Few things represent fatherly bonding time better than sharing a catch or attending a sporting event with dear ole Dad. And when it comes to sports-related museums, there’s no bigger destination than the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Opened in 1939, over 315,000 visitors head to Cooperstown, New York, every year to view artifacts from baseball history, watch videos, hear audio, peruse photos, and experience hands-on learning activities and special exhibits. The Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies take place every July, which would be a big added bonus to any Cooperstown visit. Museum admission costs $23 for adults, $15 for seniors, and $12 for veterans and kids age 7-12. Children under 6 are free, as are active or retired military personnel.
Facebook/The Mob Museum
If your dad is into old gangsters, mafia types, or even just Goodfellas or the Godfather films, he’ll likely have a blast at The Mob Museum in Las Vegas. (Heck, he’d probably have a blast at a lot of places in Vegas, but let’s stay on topic.) The venue features exhibits on the origins of the mob in America and Las Vegas, the original wall from the infamous Valentine’s Day Massacre, an interactive law enforcement training simulator, and a “lineup” souvenir photo op, as well as offering a number of frequent theme and activity nights, and the speakeasy-themed Mob Bar right across the street.
Full-price adult tickets cost $23.95 ($13.95 for Nevada residents), with a number of discounts available for advanced booking online, seniors, military and law enforcement, teachers, and kids. There is no charge for children 10 and under. 90-minute guided tours are available for an additional $10.
Facebook/Museum of Bad Art
If your father is the kind of guy who would make fun of art at a regular art museum, then boy do we have the perfect museum for him. Just outside of Boston is The Museum of Bad Art, which, as the name suggests, contains over 500 of the absolute worst drawings, paintings, and sculptures around. It’s important to note that all of the works are originals, and supposedly the artists had serious intent while producing them; in other words, no deliberate kitsch is allowed. Admission is free, but donations are highly encouraged. Consider this: If you were to donate only $1 for every so-called masterpiece laughed at, you’d probably go broke.
Did your father ever ask you to check out how bad the spoiled milk smells or pull his finger? Then he’ll likely be into Philadelphia’s The Mütter Museum, dubbed “America’s finest museum of medical history.” It might sound boring at first, but here are a few items on display at this attraction: Viennese anatomist Joseph Hyrtl’s collection of 139 human skulls (with info about each individual), 2,374 inhaled or swallowed foreign bodies extracted from throats and lungs, the brains of President Garfield’s assassin and Albert Einstein, a nine-foot-long human colon that was packed with 40 pounds of excrement when it was removed from its owner, and an assortment of other various body parts, oddities, and creepy medical devices. Admission is $16 for adults, $14 for seniors, $13 for military, and $11 for both students (with ID) and kids 6-17.
Was Papa a Rolling Stones fan? Bring him down to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, which opened in 1995 and has gotten better and better with each passing year. Permanent exhibits include The Beatles’ 70-artifact collection of costumes, instruments, and handwritten notes and one focusing on Alan Freed and the history of rock and roll in Cleveland, as well as special exhibits featuring samples from David Bowie’s wardrobe between 1972 and 2003, and guitars, family photos, original drawings, costumes, lyrics, and other artifacts from rock god Jimi Hendrix. Admission is $23.50 for adults, $21.25 for seniors, and $13.75 for kids age 9-12.