WEIRD PLACES: The International Cryptozoology Museum with Loren Coleman
Cryptozoology: the search for and study of animals whose existence or survival is disputed or unsubstantiated. Every March my girlfriend and I go to Portland, Maine to celebrate her birthday. We love the peace and quiet and the small shops in Old Port are so original and fun. One place we visit every year is also the International Cryptozoology Museum, one of the best museums of its type in the world.
When we went in 2020 everything was just starting to shut down because of Covid. Though we enjoyed ourselves tremendously, things were certainly different. Now, a year later, it was back to Portland. It was a sunny and warm Sunday, not bad for March at all, and it was time to enter the International Cryptozoology Museum. The first thing I noticed what that the museum had expanded. You used to have to walk through a small restaurant to get to the museum in the back of the building. Now this was the lobby and an expanded gift shop.
What I like about this place is that there is just so much to look at. You don’t know where to start. It was also nice to see so many new items on display. Everything from the Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot, the Dover Demon, Mothman and even werewolves are represented.
The International Cryptozoology Museum is broken down the best it can be by category. All of the cryptids are represented in dioramas, toys, collectible figures, pictures and actual samples. Loren Coleman, who is the founder of the museum, and is a cryptozoologist, has one of the most impressive collections I have ever seen. I was like a kid in a candy store, looking at things and saying “I want that!”
I personally like to go through the museum slowly, to take in all of the treasures. Even though I have seen many of them multiple times before, it’s always nice to notice something new. While in there I saw many other people visiting. It amazes me how some people go at a snail’s pace like me but that others are in and out in no time. We witnessed this while having brunch at the restaurant next door. There was a nice, steady stream of people going in and out of the museum. Some were in there awhile and others seemed to come out as quickly as they went in.
Ticket prices are more than worth it. At the time of this writing, it cost $10 per person. You get to stay as long as you like and the staff has always been extremely friendly and personable. Hopefully during one of my visits Loren will be there! Though I have been to many other, similar museums, the International Cryptozoology Museum is by far my favorite.
Now let me talk about the gift shop. I have always been able to find something to buy on each of my visits. This year, with the expanded variety, it became dangerous for me. The book selection is amazing and I found so many titles to purchase. Many of the books are signed by the authors, an added bonus. There is a series of documentaries, put out by a company called Small Town Monsters (reviews coming soon), that look very promising.
The International Cryptozoology Museum is just fascinating. If you are ever in Portland, Maine it is a must see place. If you live in New England, you can make a day trip out of it. I did that once when the Minnesota Iceman was on display years ago at their old location. Though I just got back, I cannot wait to visit again in 2022.
As a follow up, Loren Coleman has agreed to do an interview with me. That will be going live soon. Don’t forget to read other entries in my WEIRD PLACES series.