Quirky Attraction: The House on the Rock

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The House on the Rock
Location: Spring Green, Wisconsin (5754 State Road 23)
When to visit: Hours change by season; generally open 9-5 daily (closed Tues & Wed from Oct-May)
Cost: $30 adults, $16 kids
Time needed: At least 2 hours
Website: http://thehouseontherock.com

It took me a long time to figure out exactly what the House on the Rock was. I had heard there was this weird place in Wisconsin with all these weird items in display in a bunch of different weird rooms, but details beyond that were sketchy.

the house on the rock

Even visiting the House on the Rock website didn’t provide much clarity. The homepage mentions golf three times. What does golf have to do with anything? Just tell me about this weird attraction you’ve created! I was still confused about the meaning and purpose of the House on the Rock.

It was only after checking out the brochure that things started to become clear. The brochure calls the house “An experience that will entertain, astound, and amaze!” It also explains, “Alex Jordan’s retreat built atop a chimney of rock opened to the public in 1960. The retreat was only the beginning.” It goes on to discuss the “eclectic, exotic, and whimsical exhibits” on display inside.

Ok, got it. Now things were finally starting to make sense!

So there are weird collections here. Including a whole bunch of toys. Toys and carousels and giant sculpted sea creatures and dolls and Rube Goldberg machines.

masks-display

Admission price for the full tour is $30 for adults, and to be honest our group concluded that the mildly entertaining sights within the House didn’t necessarily justify the hefty price tag. But you may feel differently, so take a look at our collection of photos from the House and decide whether you may be interested in visiting. It still qualifies as one of the coolest things to do in Wisconsin.

This is one of the most popular sections of the House, called the Infinity Room. It’s a long hallway that narrows to a point. It juts out 218 feet from the main house.

infinity-room

The Infinity Room has a floor window where guests can look down and see the forest beneath them:

infinity-room-floor

The gardens between rooms are nicely maintained:

house-on-rock-garden

This is supposedly the world’s largest carousel. You can’t ride it, however, so the amount of enjoyment it provides is limited. After a short time, I was ready to move on to the next room.

carousel-house-on-rock

Some facts about the carousel, in case you’re interested:

carousel-facts

The musical instrument rooms might be my favorite part of the House on the Rock. There are a bunch of instruments that play on their own, thanks to machines. They make great, old-timey music. This one is a banjo that plays when the little metal bars on the side pluck its strings:

banjo-automatic

There are a few giant rooms with mechanical orchestras that operate on their own. These human statues are life-size. It is literally a full-sized orchestra playing music just for you as you walk past.

life-sized-orchestra

One huge room is dedicated to stories of the sea. It features a 200-foot long sea creature sculpture. The jaws are scary. I wouldn’t want to ever run into something like this in the ocean. It’s almost too big to photograph, but for scale you can see people on the ground floor walking beneath the creature:

sea-creature

More photos from the House on the Rock are posted below. Would you visit here to see the whimsical displays?

octopus-garden

geisha-display

automobile-display

chess-set

clowns-elephants

drummer-statues

airplanes-ceiling

queen-marys-crown

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About Scott Shetler

Scott is a Chicago-based journalist and blogger who seeks out quirky sights and awesome destinations throughout North America and beyond.

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