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88 votes

The Mystery Spot

465 Mystery Spot Rd, Santa Cruz, California 95065 USA

Open Now
Wed 10a-7p
  • Independent
  • Credit Cards Accepted
  • Wheelchair Accessible
  • Public Restrooms
  • No Wifi
Add to Trip

“a gravitational anomaly!”

Dotted across America, there exist a handful of places where the laws of nature don't seem to apply. Compasses spin wildly, vegetation refuses to grow, water flows uphill, and people, well, they just start to feel really weird. The Mystery Spot in Santa Cruz, California, is one of those places.

The Mystery Spot was discovered in 1939, when surveyors who were tasked with building a new cabin found that their instruments refused to work properly on this specific plot of land. While they attempted to figure out why all of their gadgets were malfunctioning, numerous surveyors reported the feeling of a mysterious force pushing them over, the strange feeling of nausea, and found the area to be extremely disorienting. When the land owners found out, they ditched their plans for a cabin and instead decided to capitalize on their bizarre vortex. 

Rather than build their original cabin, the owners built a large barn located on the small patch of land, created specifically to enhance the disorienting forces of the Mystery Spot. Within the building, brooms stand at an angle, billiard balls roll uphill, and people regularly fall over after finding that they've unwittingly walked up the wall. Located just outside of the barn is a specific patch where two people of the same height will suddenly find that one grows several inches while the other shrinks. When they switch spots, the other is taller, and so on.

Numerous people, from scientists, to psychics, to paranormal researchers, have tried to solve the mystery of the strange plot of land, with explanations that range from a UFO crash site, an interdimensional tear, a quirk of physics, electromagnetic hot spots, to just plain old optical illusions, but let's be honest, that's not nearly as much fun to think about. 

In 1981, psychologist Ray Hyman studied not only the Mystery Spot, but others spread across the country, and determined that they're what he called "architectural funhouses", where nothing was quite level, either on purpose or due to a strange landscape. These "funhouses" have a way of shorting out the parts of our brain that use visual references to orient ourselves, spinning us into a vortex where we feel like physics doesn't work right. Of course, it's all in our heads. Maybe. -Roadtrippers

The Mystery Spot is a gravitational anomaly located in the redwood forests just outside of Santa Cruz, California. It is a circular area of effect around 150 feet or 46 meters in diameter. Within the Mystery Spot you will be stunned as your perceptions of the laws of physics and gravity are questioned. But don't take our word for it, come and decide for yourself! The Mystery Spot was discovered in 1939 by a group of surveyors and opened to the public in 1940.

The Mystery Spot has amazed and perplexed hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over the world, and many return time and time again to experience these puzzling variations of gravity, perspective, and height. Some sp

eculate that cones of metal were secretly brought here and buried in our earth as guidance systems for their spacecraft. Some think that it is in fact the spacecraft itself buried deep within the ground. Other theories include carbon dioxide permeating from the earth, a hole in the ozone layer, a magma vortex, the highest dielectric biocosmic radiation known anywhere in the world, and radiesthesia. Whatever the cause is, it remains a mystery.The Mystery Spot is fun for all ages! It is a great place to spend a few hours with the whole family from the 45 minute fully guided tour to our wonderful hiking trail. We have a gift store with all things Mystery Spot and more! Come and join us for a refreshing day of outdoor fun!

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Reviewed by

  • 2 Reviews
  • 1 Helpful
September 30, 2016
Rated 5.0

Nice stop along our journey. Definitely worth the $8 ticket. Plus, active military is free!

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 1 Review
  • 0 Helpful
September 11, 2014

We love the mystery spot - it's a fun place to experience optical illusions and forced perspective. Your eyes tell you one thing and your brain tells you another. Kids love it.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 3 Reviews
  • 7 Helpful
August 16, 2014
Rated 4.0

Fun and unusual tour of gravity defying area in the mountains of Santa Cruz.
Trees grow differently and things roll upwards. People lean at extreme angles and don't fall over...several demonstrations and things to try on this simple, quick but fun tour. Reasonably priced and fun for the whole family.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 2 Reviews
  • 3 Helpful
July 13, 2014

This was a fun deviation. Made for interesting conversation as we continued along our journey. Laws of what you expected from gravity were defied!

2 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 11 Reviews
  • 16 Helpful
August 26, 2013

I loved it!!! Small from what I expected but so cool. Also downtown Santa Cruz is a must see!

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 8 Reviews
  • 0 Helpful
January 6, 2017
Rated 5.0

It's a wonderful attraction that is fun for any age. Definitely a great photo op and the gift shop has a variety of fun souvenirs to remember your time in this slanted cabin with a tour guide sharing odd physics and bad jokes.

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Reviewed by

  • 1 Review
  • 0 Helpful
September 10, 2016
Rated 5.0

An awesome adventure that won't take more than an hour or so. Cheap, too!

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Reviewed by

  • 8 Reviews
  • 0 Helpful
June 10, 2016
Rated 5.0

Very fun spot. Great place to stop with the kids. Our tour guide was hilarious and full of puns. Highly recommend

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Reviewed by

  • 8 Reviews
  • 0 Helpful
April 14, 2015

It was pretty neat, probably more fun for kids than adults.
It's $6 per person for the tour and $5 for parking. It was a fun stop on our way to San Francisco, I'll probably go back when my son is a bit older and able to enjoy it

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Reviewed by

  • 5 Reviews
  • 0 Helpful
January 1, 2015
Rated 3.0

This place is beautiful, but the mystery is just not all that. Got for the beauty over the gravitational anomaly and you'll enjoy it.

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The Mystery Spot

465 Mystery Spot Rd
Santa Cruz, California
95065 USA

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Open now until 7:00 pm
  • Mon - Fri: 10:00 am - 7:00 pm
  • Sun, Sat: 9:00 am - 8:00 pm

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  • Independent
  • Credit Cards Accepted
  • Wheelchair Accessible
  • Public Restrooms
  • No Wifi
  • Private Parking

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