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4.4
55 votes

UCM Museum - Abita Mystery House

22275 Hwy 36, Abita Springs, Louisiana 70420 USA

$
$$$$
Budget
Open Now
Tue 10a-5p
  • Independent
  • Credit Cards
    Accepted
  • Pet Friendly
  • Wheelchair
    Accessible
  • Public
    Restrooms

“Louisiana's Most Eccentric Attraction”

The Pelican state has no lack of intriguing and offbeat attractions-- Louisiana's unique energy seems to attract all kinds of imaginative visionaries. One such creative genius is John Preble, who has channeled his artistic sense and his massive collection of oddities into one of the country's strangest and most interesting museums: the famed Abita Mystery House (also sometimes known as the UCM Museum). When you pull up to the vintage gas pump at the front of the museum, leave your expectations behind and enter the Mystery House with an open mind, because what's inside almost defies definition.  It's part folk art installation, part history museum, part roadside oddity, and all fascinating. Once you've stepped through the filling station, you'll find yourself in an open air museum with several old buildings to explore. You'll find everything from a 100-year-old Creole cabin to a house covered in a pottery shard mosaic that houses a display of vintage bicycles. There's an Airstream with a UFO sticking out of it, art cars, displays of old postcards, classic radios, trophy fish, and more. Sit down at the ancient crank-powered Estey reed organ to tickle the keys yourself, or challenge yourself to a game at the vintage pinball machines and old arcade games. You can even spend some time browsing their exceptionally awesome gift shop, stocked with all kinds of crazy trinkets made by local artists. And kids will adore the village of minature scenes that come to life with the push of a button. The scenes include an old-school BBQ joint, a haunted plantation home, a Mardi Gras parade, a jazz funeral and tons more-- they all depict a taste of life in New Orleans. You can spend hours getting lost in all of the displays... and to think, what most people would consider "junk", Preble has turned into something that the director of the New Orleans Museum of Art once called "the most intriguing and provocative museum in New Orleans". Preble is an artist and inventor who built every aspect of the museum himself. He was inspired by New Mexico's Tinkertown Museum, but as with all art, he put his own Louisiana spin on the idea. From the collection of hot sauces on display and the taxidermied "dogigator" named Darrell to the redneck waterwheel and animatronic scenes of New Orleans, the whole thing is steeped in Louisiana lore. If you're lucky, Preble might be around during your visit, and can show you around his collection of collections. The best part, though? It only costs $3 for hours of endless fascination! Oh, and one last pro tip: stopping by the Abita Brew Pub beforehand is known to improve your experience; Purple Haze goes especially well with folk art. -Roadtrippers Also known as the UCM Museum is a roadside attraction in Abita Springs near New Orleans. It is a folk art environment with 1000s of found objects, and home made inventions. Tourists see a miniature Southern town with push-buttons that activate animated “displays.” On exhibit are odd collections, memorabilia, pure junk, and old arcade machines that are fun to play. Abita Springs, Louisiana is a historic small town known for its brewery, spring water, and bicycle trails. If you are looking for things to do in New Orleans, the Abita Mystery House is less than an hour north in historic Abita Springs. This roadside attraction features a vintage service station, a 100yr old Louisiana Creole cottage, an exhibition hall of memorabilia and junk, and the much photographed House of Shards. Come see handmade folk art animated scenes of Southern life by Louisiana inventor / artist, John Preble.  With the help of over 50,000 found and recycled objects, Preble created his own fantastic worlds: there's a Mardi Gras parade, a New Orleans jazz funeral, a rhythm and blues dance hall, a haunted Southern plantation, and much more! This joint was built with concrete, glass, wood, water, vision, and invention. Bring a sense of humor and an open mind. Have you ever walked along a foot path and stopped to pick up an interesting rock? John Preble has, thousands of times; and it wasn’t only rocks, there were bottles, bottle caps, license plates, springs, motors, pottery shards, and “what all.” And he didn’t throw any of it away, instead it all eventually came together in the fantastic man-made world known as the Abita Mystery House in Abita Springs, Louisiana. "The most intriguing and provocative museum in Louisiana." - John Bullard, Director of the New Orleans Museum of Art.

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Reviewed by
AnnaGiacomo

  • 2 Reviews
  • 10 Helpful
April 25, 2014

Without a doubt one of the coolest places I've ever been! There's so much to see that I probably spent an hour there looking at everything even though its not very big square feet wise. Seriously if you're into 'offbeat attractions' this is exactly what you are looking for. Also while in the town check out the cafe a few blocks away, they have one of the best burger and fries I've ever had.

10 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
marut

  • 9 Reviews
  • 8 Helpful
May 29, 2014

You could seriously spend all day in this place, even though it's tiny. Be sure to push all the buttons on the displays to see the animatronics come to life :)

4 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
betsy.ptak

  • 1 Review
  • 3 Helpful
February 14, 2014

Just go. Amazing. Overwhelm your senses. It's a mini House on The Rocks.

3 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
Megan Bannister

  • Road Warrior
  • 117 Reviews
  • 84 Helpful
February 01, 2016
Rated 5.0

The Abita Mystery House is a must-visit for any lover of roadside attractions! For only $3 admission you're treated to an incredible look inside the creation of artist and inventor John Preble. As one of the museum's signs says, "This is a place to push buttons." Be sure to bring your camera, and a handful of quarters for some of the Abita Mystery House's more interactive installations. I can't recommend this place highly enough!

2 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
MandaPanda

  • 1 Review
  • 2 Helpful
September 07, 2015
Rated 5.0

This place is fantastic! It's like being in Pee Wee's playhouse but better! Probably one of the coolest places in the US!

2 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
Justin

  • 3 Reviews
  • 2 Helpful
June 09, 2015
Rated 5.0

Very interesting place. Reminds me of all the cool things I wanted to buy when I would go to garage sales with my mom in the early 90's. It's an awesome collection of a bunch of forgotten relics. This is a great example of how anyone can be an artist. It just takes imagination and creativity, and some recycled junk. Bring the kids. They will love it.

2 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
Preston892

  • 7 Reviews
  • 4 Helpful
March 26, 2015
Rated 5.0

Amazing tourist attraction. The girl working in the gift shop was very nice and attractive. The first thing you walk into is the amazing gift shop. You'll find tons of fun items and a lot of local creations. From the gift shop you'll find Peewee's play house/freak show/and old time arcade . It's all in a group of buildings linked together by walkways. The House Of Shards is amazing. If you don't like crazy clutter with a humorous spin, don't go.

2 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
oolieoh

  • 4 Reviews
  • 2 Helpful
February 20, 2015
Rated 5.0

In love with the Abita Mystery House! Brought my camera and spent quite some time looking around at all the marvelous trinkets. Very nice staff and so worth the price! Can't wait to go back another nice weekend.

2 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
Kathleen Oanes

  • 103 Reviews
  • 64 Helpful
August 12, 2014

This is surely by far one of the coolest places that I've been to! There was so much interesting stuff here; like home made inventions and displays that get activated with the push of a button. If you are also into vintage stuff, then this is for you. It was like a house of all the awesome things gathered from different times all stored in one place. It's like a museum of random things; from the artsy fartsy stuff, to junk; and everything in between.

2 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
Kabay

  • 28 Reviews
  • 6 Helpful
May 29, 2016
Rated 5.0

Really neat. They also have a lot of vintage items.

1 person found this review helpful

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UCM Museum - Abita Mystery House

22275 Hwy 36
Abita Springs, Louisiana
70420 USA

Hours

Open now until 5:00 pm
  • Sun - Sat: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Is there a problem with this listing? Let us know.

  • Independent
  • Credit Cards Accepted
  • Pet Friendly
  • Wheelchair Accessible
  • Public Restrooms
  • No Wifi
  • Street Parking
  • Private Parking
  • Free Parking
  • Yes Parking

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