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
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.
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.
House on the Rock Admission Cost, Hours, and Main Attractions
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.
As of 2018, daily hours run from 9 to 5, with additional evening hours being available on certain dates. Even if the place is slightly overpriced, 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.
The Infinity Room has a floor window where guests can look down and see the forest beneath them:
The gardens between rooms are nicely maintained:
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.
Some facts about the carousel, in case you’re interested:
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:
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.
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:
More House on the Rock Pictures
More photos from the House on the Rock are posted below. Would you visit here to see the whimsical displays?
Is the House on the Rock a place you should travel great distances to visit? No, probably not. But if you’re in Madison (40 miles away) or the Wisconsin Dells (60 miles away), it might be worth taking a half-day jaunt over to check it out. They have special “After Hours” nighttime experiences, and they have lots of special presentations during the Christmas season. So check their website if any of those extras appeal to you. There’s also a hotel resort on site.