Happiness is….A Visit to the Charles M. Schulz Museum!
When I was little, I was a hardcore lover of Knott’s Berry Farm. While I loved my visits to Disneyland, I definitely got extremely excited at hearing we were going to Knott’s. This was mainly because I absolutely loved the Peanuts and for every holiday, always would get a VHS like their Valentine’s Day or Thanksgiving special. So, you can imagine I would eagerly await my next trip to Knott’s Camp Snoopy. I even got my most favorite of their specials, A Charlie Brown Christmas, at Knott’s and still have it today.
Then, when I discovered that their was the Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa, California, you can figure how much I wanted to visit. I heard there were statues, exhibits, even an ice skating rink. While I never got to the Charles M. Schulz Museum in my youth, I at last visited with my friends on our hot air balloon adventure, and it was everything I’d hoped it would be!
While we were extremely groggy and looking to hit the road home, there was no way I could not ask if we could stop by. Upon your arrival, you’re immediately struck with Snoopy and the Peanuts gang everywhere you turn….
With several buildings housing their ample gift shop, ice skating rink and the Warm Puppy Cafe, the entire grounds are gorgeous at the Charles M. Schulz Museum and, even bushes shaped like the gang. Once you get your admission to enter the museum, one of the first things you encounter is a massive outline of the infamous scene of Lucy holding the football for Charlie Brown to hit. Get up more closely, and you will discover that the wall is entirely made up of thousands of the comic strips to make that outline. The entire museum is filled with clever accents like this, just adding to how (Joe) cool the exhibits are.
With 2 floors to explore, their temporary exhibit, “It Was a Dark and Stormy Night” intrigued me, as I wondered what the artifacts would entail. It turned out to be an incredible homage to Snoopy’s love of writing his novel of the same name. It turns out that this was Charles Schulz way of incorporating his love of literature into this cartoon strips. Growing up on the likes of Hemingway, Fitzgerald and Dickens, to name a few, Schulz was in the kind in his industry to so expertly craft a comic strip and cartoons that children could love and relate to, while grown ups could just the same as he dealt with the depression that often plagued young Charlie Brown and topics like the great writers who came before him.
What a way, to introduce children to the more sophisticated joys of life. While still weaving in humor and children favorites like baseball, football and hockey. Which made me wonder, what made Schulz open Snoopy’s Home Ice in 1969? Raised in Minnesota with seasonal wintry weather, Schulz developed an interest in ice sports from an early age and opened, along with his first wife, Joyce, the ice skating arena in Santa Rosa.
As you move upstairs, collectibles and vintage artifacts and heirlooms relating to the Peanuts and Schulz continue; with early rough drafts of his comic strips, figurines and family photos. With a theatre also at the museum, we were able to see Schulz’s A&E Biography, which shed much light on just how personal his work was. While Charlie Brown pines endlessly for the “Little Red Haired Girl”, turns out young Charles did, as well.
Schulz met a red-haired lady by the name of Donna Mae in the early 1950’s, and quickly fell in-love with her. While they dated for a few years, Schulz perhaps always had a little heartbreak live with him when Donna rejected his marriage proposal. As soon as he unveiled Charlie Brown’s crush, Donna knew it was her.
Through the years with Joyce, Schulz raised a beautiful family and set up shop in Santa Rosa. In his final years, he was wed to Joyce Schulz, who now writes for the museum’s blog.
The Charles M. Schulz Museum also is no stranger to welcoming other proclaimed artists and writers. Last month, they welcomed Jay Asher, author of 13 Reasons Why (which, unless you’ve been living under a rock, probably know it’s become a successful and controversial Netflix series which was filmed in Santa Rosa) and, this month, Captain Underpants creator, Dav Pilkey, will be stopping by.
While the museum is a must-see for any Peanuts fan, they certainly offer much to see on the “campus” as they call it. There, you will find the gift shop, Warm Puppy Cafe, Snoopy’s Home Ice and about a dozen statues for photo opps. New this year, is their Beatles inspired Abbey Road ‘cross walk’. How cute is this?!
Learn more about The Charles M. Schulz Museum HERE.
(*Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post.)