Quirky Attraction: Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum: House Cats, Hours, Ticket Info

ernest hemingway portrait

The Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum
Location: Key West, FL (908 Whitehead St.)
When to visit: Open 9am – 5pm, 365 days a year
Cost: Adults $18, kids $7
Time needed: 30-60 minutes
Website: www.hemingwayhome.com

Famed American author Ernest Hemingway (he’s the dude responsible for For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Old Man and the Sea) spent a good part of his life living in Key West in this house.

Guests can stop by to see the Ernest Hemingway House as it was in the 1930s, complete with original furniture!

All that history is great. But if you’ve heard of the Hemingway House, it’s probably because of a different reason… those six-toed cats!

six toed cats hemingway

Here’s what you can see if stop in to visit the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum!

Photos from Inside and Outside the House

When the Hemingways moved in, there was a boxing ring in the backyard. That was relocated so a fancy swimming pool could be installed in its place. Good choice!

It was the only pool within 100 miles of Key West, took a year and a half to install, and cost $20,000, an exorbitant sum in 1937.

hemingway swimming

Guests who visit the house are taken on 20-30 minute guided tour of the entire grounds.

Come see Hemingway’s kitchen. It’s so cute and old-fashioned! It instantly transports you back to that era.

hemingway kitchen

Hemingway had a great balcony. Wouldn’t you love to come out here on a beautiful Key West day?

hemingway house balcony

If you have the time, stop by the Hemingway House to see how an iconic author lived. See all the furniture, the old house, and the spacious grounds.

Fun fact: Because Hemingway was such a large man, they had to use an old monastery gate as a headboard:

hemingway bedroom cats

Here’s a funny piece of history. When his favorite bar closed down, Hemingway took one of the urinals and brought it home.

You might imagine that his wife would not be happy about this. And you’d be correct! She was not onboard with this idea.

urinal cat water bowl

But he had a vision: He turned the urinal into a giant cat water bowl that is still part of the property.

The Hemingway House Cats with Six Toes

Currently, about 60 cats live on the property, and many are polydactyl, meaning they have six toes on their paws instead of five.

six toed cats hemingway

Some are descendants of the very first polydactyl cat Hemingway had all those decades ago. Her name was Snow White. All of the cats here have celebrity names.

As you walk around the property, you’ll encounter at least a couple dozen of these kitties.

They take good care of the cats here. There’s a full-time vet who tends to them. Read more about how they take care of these pets.

hemingway house cats

Some like to hang out in the backyard, some stay in their little wooden outdoor houses, and some prefer Hemingway’s old bed.

If you look closely, you can even spot some cat footprints in the concrete, obviously put there when they walked in the wet concrete.

hemingway house cats

Check out the monument to the Hemingway Home cats that passed away. Most of these cats lived at least 14 years, and some as long as 21 years!

And look at the famous names: John Wayne, Mark Twain, Ava Gardner, Pablo Picasso, and Joan Crawford!

hemingway cats headstone

If you’re a cat person, you could spend hours here just enjoying the kitties.

Ernest Hemingway House: Tickets, Hours, Prices, Parking

As of 2024, visiting the hallowed ground that belonged to this celebrated author will cost $18 for adults and $7 for kids. You can visit from 9 am to 5 pm.

You cannot purchase Ernest Hemingway House tickets online. Tickets are only sold in person at the window. Here’s a surprise: Admission is cash only. So make sure to bring some bills!

There isn’t a parking lot on the premises, but you can find street parking in this part of Key West.

And just for fun, here’s a 1964 New York Times article announcing that this house was opening as a museum.

The Hemingway House Museum is a must-visit for anyone looking for places to stop on a Miami to Key West road trip!

And make sure to stop at the southernmost point in the continental U.S. while you’re in Key West.

Would you be interested in seeing the Ernest Hemingway House cats?