Get Your Peanuts Fix At The Charles M. Schulz Museum


*Did you know that Franklin, Charlie Brown’s African American buddy, almost didn’t make it into the popular Peanuts comic strip?

Did you know that all of the Peanuts characters debuted as infants, and rapidly aged once they were introduced?

Did you know that Lucy pushed a couple of early protagonists aside to ultimately become Charlie Brown’s chief foil?

Those of just some of the facts you’ll learn at the Charles M. Schultz Museum, nestled in Schultz’ hometown of Santa Rosa, California.

I really wasn’t expecting to have as much fun as I did on my recent, first visit. From the moment I walked in the door of the museum, which opened in 2002, and was greeted by a volunteer who bore an eerie resemblance to Schultz himself, I knew I was in for a treat.

For a modest $10 admission fee, you can plan on a few solid hours of Peanuts fun. An introductory movie gives the history of the museum and is narrated by Schultz’ widow. You learn the inside scoop on the facility’s design and the details behind the the museum’s core exhibits. You also learn trivia facts like Schultz favorite breakfast (and english muffin with grape jelly), lunch (a tuna salad sandwich), and favorite pastimes and hang-out spots, many of which have been incorporated into the museum experience.

All of the characters are there, with the history of their genesis and evolution. Ever wondered where Linus’ security blanket came from? How about the inspiration for Snoopy? Did you know that the lovable beagle had a feline nemesis for a while? Can you tell me how Woodstock got his name? You’ll be able to answer all of those questions — and more — after a pass through the museum.

Don’t miss the full size recreation of Schultz’ studio, where he drew literally decades of Peanuts classics. Also, don’t miss the storyboards and stories behind the beloved Peanuts holiday specials, including A Charlie Brown ChristmasIt’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, and A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.

A highlight for the kids will be a gallery where, with coaching from museum volunteers, your family can draw their own versions of Peanuts characters for display at the museum.  (Yes, I did — look for my impressive depiction of Snoopy there!)

As informative as the museum experience was, you’d never know that the experience would be so immersive. Check out the site’s courtyard and examine first hand the infamous kite eating tree — complete with kite. Woodstock’s birdbath is also outside — and it’s a beauty that doubles as a water fountain and is complete with a hologram.

And the fun doesn’t end with the museum itself. Right across the street you can eat at the Warm Puppy Cafe (yes, you can have that tuna sandwich), see the table that Schultz sat at every day, and watch kids skate in the ice rink that Schultz had built in the late 1970s. Just outside and around the corner, you can shop until your heart’s content in the gift shop — and boy, did I shop. In fact, before I left, I joined the museum as a member!

Schultz’ spirit lives on at the Charles M Schultz Museum, and as we prepare for the new Peanuts feature film, it’s a great spot to take the family.

This article was written by Michael P Coleman, a Sacramento-based freelance writer who loves to tweet — just like Woodstock.

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