If you love an off-the-beaten-track, oddball museum full of strange old stuff, then you'll have a cracking good time at the Nutcracker Museum. Located in the ferociously quaint, ersatz-Bavarian-village of Leavenworth (a pretty wacky place in itself), the museum claims to have over 5,000 specimens on display in its floor-to-ceiling glass cases with typewritten labels. If the narrow aisles and looming dolls give you claustrophobia, check out the extensive gift shop downstairs, which gives you the general idea for free... unless you can't resist taking home one of these pricey works of art. Open 2-5 pm daily, so plan accordingly.
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A Real Nut House
Not so much a museum as an extensive private collection, the Nutcracker Museum doesn’t offer a lot of nutcracker-related education — but it sure does have a ton of nutcrackers (over 6,000, they claim). As you file up and down the narrow aisles of glass cases, all crammed with nutcrackers hailing from ancient Roman times up to the present day, you’ll marvel at the many ingenious ways humans have devised to crack a tough nut. The screws and presses seem like tiny torture devices, even when they’re made out of porcelain painted with floral patterns, while the Victorians designed elaborately decorated silver nut picks and other utensils to make the process as genteel as possible. When you enter, you’ll be strongly encouraged to watch an informational video on the history of nutcrackers, then turned loose to explore on your own. Sadly, photos are not permitted, except with their man-sized wooden mascot Karl. Kids are welcome at the museum, and can take part in a scavenger hunt to find special kid-friendly nutcrackers. Wheelchair accessible.