Uncovering what’s in this mystery meat at the SPAM Museum
Minnesota is home to some amazing roadside attractions, but nothing beats the Minnesota SPAM Museum. It’s one of a few FREE Museums in MN and one of the best places to stretch your legs on the road. But what may be my favorite part of the museum is that you get to try the products!
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The History of SPAM
SPAM is a global phenomenon. It is available in 18 different varieties and in 41 different countries. During WWII it became so important to the war effort that they needed to have additional security around the processing plant. But with all its notoriety, it doesn’t seem to be that popular in Minnesota. Well, except in Austin MN where they are home to the SPAM Museum.
What to do at the SPAM Museum
The SPAM museum is newly renovated. It includes many interactive displays that could rival any children’s museum. From playing SPAM related video games to lifting a 50lb case of SPAM for our Troops overseas. They even had a big playground section just for kids to let loose.
What is in SPAM?
The mystery around SPAM is one of the most asked questions. Especially when you see it in its perfect can shape. So what is SPAM? A canned meat consisting of Ham, Pork Shoulder, Salt, Sugar, Potato Starch, and Sodium Nitrate. That’s it. SPAM may seem like an odd substance, but it is the bare bones. Over the years, they have added additional flavors to the line, but the original SPAM is just meat.
Before visiting the museum, I had been terrified of the substance. It seemed so odd to me. But luckily at the SPAM Museum in Minnesota staff was walking around with samples of the products. We tried SPAM with cheese. That was just the start. We ended up buying a bunch of varieties to bring back with us. Some of the most popular recipes include SPAM and Eggs.
The not so serious side of SPAM
The experience inside the museum is all about fun. How can the display the SPAM in new and fun ways to entertain the parents and kids? Like the Minnesota Children’s Museum, the kids didn’t realize they were having fun. Kids get to participate in a faux SPAM packing assembly line. Or running around the play structure inside the museum.
What I love about SPAM is that they don’t take themselves too seriously. Looking at the gift shop that is filled with all kinds of unique SPAM products you could tell how much fun with it they have. There were things like specialized spam slicer, so you get the perfect slice every time. There are pennant and keychains, toys and streetwear. And don’t forget the main feature, SPAM. The gift shop sold all the varieties in different serving sizes. If you are adventures, you can get a variety pack.
A Global Phenomena
People from all over the world were coming to see the SPAM museum. Inside you’ll see different displays with how SPAM has affected the different cultures. More than just the Hawaiian Islands, it’s gone around the world and back again. It makes me wonder why we don’t have the same love and pride in the states.
Other Things to Know
The museums is completely free! You heard right. The SPAM Museum is free-for-all guests. Walking in, they do want you to stop at the desk and leave your name and party size. It felt a little odd not paying at a place like this.
You can find the museum at 101 3rd Ave NE, Austin, MN 55912. Parking is available behind the nearby building in the lots.
Tips for your visit
The Spam Museum is one of a few Free Museums in Minnesota. Make sure you enter the museum with a bit of lightheartedness and have some fun. And don’t forget to let you younger kids enjoy the play area to burn off any of that extra energy they’ve been harboring form the road trip. ‘
For more fun facts about SPAM, check out The Book of SPAM. It was a fun read full of wonderful illustrations.
Other Things to Do Austin MN
Other Attractions to Visit
Just down the street to the SPAM museum is Rydjor Bike Shop and Sweet Reads Bookstore. Both are great to check out. Inside of Austin is also home to the Hormel Historic Home. The founder of Hormel Foods, 1900s home is open to public tours. And if you drive a little farther down, you’ll even find the Four Daughters Vineyard and Winery. They are home to some amazing wine and Loon Juice.
Where to Stay
If you are planning on making a weekend of your trip, there are a few local places to stay. First is the Holiday Inn in downtown Austin. The hotel is centrally located in Down Town Austin, making it easy to get around.
The closest state park to the Minnesota SPAM Museums is Myre-Big Island State Park in Albert Lee MN. The park has tons of amenities, but my favorite part about the park is the light show the fireflies put on at night. You gotta check them out if you get the opportunity.
If you only have an Hour
We found tons of things to do in Austin while we visited this unique Minnesota museum. The SPAM Museum should only take you about an hour to get through, leaving you plenty of time to do some other great things in the area. When you go to ‘Have a SPAMY day’!
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