International Mermaid Museum
Location: Aberdeen, Washington (1 S. Arbor Rd.)
When to visit: Open 11 am – 6 pm daily
Time needed: 20-30 minutes
Before visiting the International Mermaid Museum in western Washington, I was a little skeptical. Mermaids aren’t real! What could a mermaid museum possibly offer? Would it be a silly museum geared entirely toward kids?
To my surprise, this museum presented a wealth of great information, from the history of mermaid mythology and folklore around the world, to educational info about ocean ecology and common marine animals.
They have whimsical exhibits aimed at children, yes, but there’s a ton of content for the grown-ups as well. It’s a really well-done museum, and at only $3, the ticket price is budget-friendly.
The museum shares a parking lot with the Westport Winery, so you can grab a beverage before or after stopping here.
Let’s go over some of the highlights of the museum, and the logistical info you’ll need if you plan to visit.
What You’ll See Inside the Museum
The museum’s stated mission is to teach ocean ecology from seashore to sea floor, immersed in mermaid mythology, uniting oceanic cultures.
Visiting here really is an educational experience. Each informational board features one piece of mermaid mythology and one factual blurb about a marine animal.
This one is a good example, with a paragraph about the cecaelia creature and great info about the octopus.
Other animals featured on these signs include swordfish, dolphins, sea turtles, pufferfish, manatees, alligators, and manta rays, so they really cover the whole oceanic spectrum.
Of course there are plenty of examples of the famous half-woman, half-fish on display. In my view, this purple, blue and pink one is the most stylish mermaid in the building.
And The Little Mermaid gets its own exhibit as well. If somehow you’re not familiar with the movie, here’s your chance to check out the posters, toys, and memorabilia related to the film.
The museum also features physical artifacts, such as cannonballs from historic ships, and hag stones, which are unique pierced rocks found in the ocean.
There are king crabs and lots of pieces of various types of coral inside display cases.
Here’s another interesting item: a wood carving that was shipped from France during Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt. Somehow, it made its way to the U.S., and the museum found it at an auction in Texas. Real Napoleon history!
The museum features a variety of fascinating artwork as well. Such as a lamp shaped like a jellyfish. A glass mosiac mermaid. And a door featuring numerous aquatic animals created from repurposed trash.
You’ll likely be surprised at how many items and exhibits are on display at the International Mermaid Museum.
Visiting the International Mermaid Museum: Cost, Directions
The museum’s address is on S. Arbor Road in Aberdeen, but it’s actually located between Aberdeen and the coastal town of Westport.
The current ticket price for the International Mermaid Museum is just $3, and it’s open from 11 am to 6 pm seven days a week.
The parking lot is large and free. You can find a few outdoor mermaid-related sculptures near the parking lot as well.
In addition to the exhibits, there are hands-on activities for kids. There’s a sizable gift shop here as well, including local snacks, children’s books, and mermaid-themed toys and clothing.
The snacks include “sea otter poop” (butter toffee peanuts) and “crab crap” (chocolate peanuts), while the clothing includes socks with dolphins or turtles.
Westport is part of one of my favorite road trips from Seattle. Make sure to stop at the Westport Viewing Tower to see the ocean waves hitting the shore.
While you’re in Washington state, consider a Whidbey Island day trip, keep your eyes open to see Mount Rainier, visit the gas station shaped like a teapot in Zillah, and check out our itinerary for one day in Seattle, including the historic neighborhood of Pioneer Square.
Other Museums About Mermaids: Berlin, Maryland
While the Washington museum smartly dubbed itself the International Mermaid Museum, there are multiple mermaid museums that folks might be interested in.
The museum in Berlin, Maryland is the main mermaid museum on the Atlantic coast. That one opened in 2020 and has more limited hours than the one in Washington. It has mermaid exhibits and a large wall of alleged “mermaid sightings.”
Would you like to see the International Mermaid Museum?