Gain a fresh perspective on art, science and natural history from the niche collections of these eight quirky museums.
Cancún Underwater Museum, Cancún
The perfect combination of art and conservation
Beneath the turquoise waters of Cancún, Mexico, divers will find a museum of 500 life-size sculptures installed to promote coral life. The region’s Manchones Reef has been increasingly damaged by divers and snorkellers, so the director of the National Park Costa Occidental Isla Mujeres, Punta Cancún y Punta Nizuc, came up with an idea. Working with several Mexican sculptors, three different galleries placed their work three to six metres below the water to create an artificial concrete reef for visitors to explore, giving the natural reefs a much-needed chance to recover. Less than 100m away from this underwater museum is the Presidente InterContinental Cancun Resort, featuring a private beach, numerous on-site restaurants and bars and world-class service.
KattenKabinet (Cat Cabinet), Amsterdam
See just how cats have impacted art and culture throughout history
This eccentric, cat-themed museum is located on Amsterdam’s Golden Bend, a stretch of coveted mansions that cluster around a curve of one of the main historic canals, Herengracht. It was founded in 1990 by a wealthy Dutchman called William Meijer, in commemoration of his ginger cat named John Pierpont Morgan after the famous North American financier. The Cat Cabinet is filled with cat paraphernalia, including hilarious gifts from Meijer to his beloved pet; every five years, he would give him a special gift such as a commissioned portrait or a custom dollar bill with Morgan’s picture replacing George Washington. Visitors can enjoy this wide collection of items showing the role of cats in art and culture throughout human history and spot the five cats that currently live in the museum. Just around the corner from the Cat Cabinet is Hotel Rudolph. Walking distance from nearly all of Amsterdam's biggest sights, Hotel Rudolph also offers bike rentals for guests interested in exploring the city like a local.
Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum, Ikeda
This museum focuses on more than just food
Head to the Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum to learn more about this staple of Japan's food culture. It's an interactive museum located in Ikeda, the birthplace of instant noodles, where visitors can learn all about the history of the revolutionary dish that is ramen, but that’s not all. The museum’s exhibitions go beyond food, focusing on the importance of inventing and how even the smallest ideas can lead to big innovations. Not far from the museum is Fushioukaku, a traditional Japanese accommodation where guests sleep on futon bedding atop tatami (woven-straw) mats. Each room comes with Yukata robes, perfect to wear as you make your way to and from the property's indoor and outdoor onsen (hot spring baths).
The Museum of Broken Relationships, Zagreb
Browse the collection of donated possessions from past relationships
The Museum of Broken Relationships began as a travelling exhibition revolving around the topic of failed relationships but has since become a permanent museum in Zagreb, Croatia. Here, visitors can read stories – both funny and tragic – of others dealing with heartbreak, as well as browse possessions donated by members of the public after the end of a relationship. While the topic may seem dark, the museum shows that heartbreak and loss is a shared human experience, regardless of nationality or background. Just a short walk from the museum in the heart of the city is Palace Hotel Zagreb. Designed in traditional Art Nouveau style, this hotel offers a warm atomosphere and overlooks one of Zagreb's most beautiful parks.
The Dog Collar Museum, Leeds
Leeds Castle is home to the largest public display of dog collars in the world
Having jewellery as part of a historic castle’s display is not uncommon but inside this British fortress you’ll find a different type of accessory. Leeds Castle possesses the largest public display of dog collars in the world. This collection of canine neckwear spans five centuries, from the late 15th century through to the 20th – with considerable changes in the design of this seemingly utilitarian item depending on the time period. Within the grounds, you'll find the Stable Courtyard Bedrooms. Each room has views of either the lake, the gardens or the Stable Courtyard, and free entry to Leeds Castle is included in the stay.
International Cryptozoology Museum, Portland
The evidence, artefacts, and popular cultural items here will convince even the most steadfast non-believer
With cryptozoology often being a 'gateway science' for future interest in biology, zoology, palaeontology and more, the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine, is dedicated to educating the public about the field. Explore evidence, artefacts and popular cultural items that'll make even the most cycnical start to believe in the existence of yet-to-be-found creatures like yetis or lake monsters. The Victoria-style Inn at St John is conveniently situated near the International Cryptozoology Museum.
Gelato Museum, Bologna
Learn more about the history and culture of this favourite Italian dessert
The Gelato Museum is one of the few museums that encourages you to eat your way through their displays. In this industrial-space-turned-museum located in Bologna, Italy, you will learn about the history, culture and technology of gelato and gain a better understanding of why this Italian dessert has become a favourite around the world. Walking distance from the popular Piazza Maggiore, Suite Hotel Elite is a popular choice of accommodation. The Gelato Museum is easily accessible from the hotel by both car and public transport.
Sulabh International Museum Of Toilets, Delhi
Toilet-realted social customs, etiquette and even poetry can be found inside this museum's walls
After a trip to the Sulabh International Museum of Toilets in Delhi, you will never look at a toilet the same way again. As you explore the museum you will see the historic evolution of toilets from 2500 BC to the present, as well as learn about toilet-related social customs, etiquette and historic legislation. There’s also toilet poetry for the more artistically inclined. With an outdoor pool and three on-site dining options, the Taj Palace New Delhi is a favourite among travellers visiting the city.