“House on the Rock” in Spring Green, WI
Located in Spring Green, Wisconsin, this was one of those attractions that I longed to see while growing up in this beautiful State. It almost seemed like a myth, some magical folklore of a home that rested on a large rock. Possibly a Seuss tale? I never got there as a child, as I wish I would have. BUT I got to take my children there, and it was something magical, mind blowing, and exhausting to see. Imagine the craziest house you can think of, set it in these beautiful rolling hills in WI, and then add onto it the collections of the most macabre and bizarre things you can think of. See, that’s where people go wrong, they think the “House on the Rock” is JUST that, a house on a rock. Nope! It is a pish posh of collections, albeit amazing and astounding, attached to a 14-room home that was designed and started by Alex Jordan in 1945 on top of a 60 foot chimney of rock. As the years went on, he added more and more to his collections (I get it, my Pop Funkos and Disney Pins are getting there) until it has become what it is today. Honestly it should be called the “House on the Rock Museum” and that would give people a better understanding of it.
I SHOULD have booked my ticket online, as it would have cost me $24.99 and not the $29.99 I paid at the box office upon arriving. The ticket includes all THREE sections of the Attraction, and it is the ONLY ticket they are selling right now. Normally you can purchase a ticket for just ONE of the sections, as this place takes HOURS to tour. I was there on a Wednesday, August 12th, 2020 (weekdays are always quieter). They opened at 9 am, and again with Covid, I thought that getting there right at opening would increase my chances of staying away from the crowds and being more on my own- and I was right! I was literally the third car parked, parking is free by the way, and it’s easy to find and park there. (Can’t stand places where the parking is so stressful that I won’t even bother with it and leave). Restrooms are located right at the ticket area- use them as this place is HUGE and they are located along the tour but they are spread out, so it’s just easier to knock that off the list right away! Also they encourage you to bring your own bottle of water to use as you tour- drinking coolers were provided along the way, but most of them were empty. Again, trying to minimize the spread, just bring your own from home, that way you know where it came from and that you can sanitize it yourself. Oh, also wear the best walking shoes you have-its 375 feet of ramp through out the treetops alone! I am a Marathoner, and I am telling you I had my best shoes on and I was still sore after 3 hours of non-stop walking and touring, so keep that in mind.
The first part of the Attraction is the actual house and the infinity room. It’s the craziest house you will ever lay eyes upon, with musical instruments in rooms that play what I feel like is a song you would hear in a horror film. Yes, a full orchestra of instruments that you are given tokens for (when you buy your ticket) and you can choose which music rooms you want to play. I feel like Alex was really high when he designed this home… he made everything you talk about with your friends when you are just being silly and ridiculous. Just look at the pictures and you’ll understand what I mean.
The Ininifty Room is not for the faint of heart of those who are unliking of heights and the latter. I struggle with height BUT I was the ONLY one touring that section, seemed like a courage thing, so I traversed the entire room to the end. There they have a lovely glass bottom so you can see where youll be falling to your impending death….I mean, you can see how high you are above the trees. Reat photo opps here, so take advantage of this amazing room!
The second part of the tour takes you into the Museum part which sets you onto Streets of Yesterday, at night, creepy music rooms and mannequins included. LOTS and LOTS of mannequins. There is so much history that he has collected, you can FEEL the energy of off it. Heck yeah I played my ghost app for awhile, got some great responses too. It was just a bit challenging trying to run the ghost app, then log off that to get pics and videos, then log back in- a lot of back and forth. Those are the times I need an extra hand and IPhone lol.
The next section is the “The Heritage of the Sea” which my kids LOVED when they visited here. There is a cute music section called “The Octopus Garden” that plays the sweetest tune and is a family favorite! What is actually more jaw dropping in this section is the warehouse sized Whale and Octopus that are in a battle in the middle of the room. They are surrounded by three floors of nautical history and collections- even some from the Titanic! So much to read and experience in here, this room alone takes some time to explore.
Next is this large warehouse of hot air balloons, cabinets filled with odd ball collections, old cars, carriages, and trucks, and a real working ice cream and pizza parlor. Are you understanding now why I say this is not a “House?” LOL I did stop here and buy another bottle of water, the Pizza Parlor was open during Covid, but I didn’t see that the Ice Cream Parlor was. It’s a nice place to stop and rest before touring on, any chance you can get off your feet, take it here!
I was then brought back around into the back side of “Streets of Yesteryear” where there are large music rooms which I played in a couple of them. Alone, which 90% of my visit I was, it was rather spooky to listen to the music, sitting there in the dim lit room, more mannequin eyes staring at me as they hit their drums. Onto a smaller room, all about Aviation with planes circling the ceiling, and then you pour out onto a sight that is just unexplainable. A FULL SCALE Carousel, complete with the creepiest animals, people, and sculptures known to man! No, you can’t ride it, which I think is cruel to the kids especially, but honestly? I feel like it’s something that if you rode it you would be transported to another dimension and become the latest victim in a “Black Mirror” episode. So yeah, just look at it from afar.
The third and final section to this house of horrors brings you into the largest collection of pipe organs you will ever see on this planet. I always giggle thinking about the Phantom running around with glee like a kid on Christmas, playing all of them. They have carpeted bridges, walkways, and spiral staircases with, you guessed it, MORE MANNEQINS! Seriously, this is a horror film waiting to happen. At this point, I am getting tired. You seen one organ you seen them all, am I right? LOL Halfway through this area, they direct you to a small café area, with a walkway outside. Personally I feel like it’s a “Hey, we know you’re tired of looking at all this stuff, so have some fresh H20 and sit awhile.”
After my hit of some pure outdoor oxygen, I was on my way back through more dark hallways and onto THE DOLLHOUSE SECTION!!! Yeah, I am a sucker for the teeny, tiny things! So many houses, one after another, I can’t imagine dusting any of these and I’m thinking they don’t! If you have a child that loves dollhouses, this will make their heads spin! And it’s rooms and ROOMS of them- there had to be at least a hundred of them. Which then leads you to the Circus portion! I LOVE the the dioramas of circus events under the big tops, always amazed at the work it took to set up, paint, and design each small event. Impressive doesn’t describe this area, and I don’t even know where you begin to “collect” something like these. The finality of this room is what nightmares are made of… a full orchestra on one of the second floor plays music, while sitting in front of a large circus wagon, full of, wait for it, MORE MANNEQUNS!!! It’s just THE creepiest room of the entire place and I fear that one time the lights will go out and then pop back on and every mannequin will be missing and they will all be waiting for me by my car. Jokes on them! My car could only take like 4 of them, HAH! On a side note, this room is surrounded on the left side with Diamond ads that have buttons to press to make them move- little play sets almost- very fun to see!
Lastly, there is the Royal Section with jewels, swords, artillery, and Knights! A full complete small scale of Buckingham Palace as well…..I mean, why? The Renn girl in me was excited to see the Knights, and then moved on. A spiraling walk up more red carpet, past a carousel hanging from the ceiling, loaded with dolls galore! Yes Mom, you would LOVE this room! And then it all ends back on the other side of the grand carousel, and they set you free with good behavior into the outside Japanese garden and, of course, the gift shop!
Like I said, this attraction takes A LOT of time! There is a full museum section right BEFORE the house that I just barely looked at because of time. If you sat and watched the film there, read everything, that ALONE would take you at least an hour and you’re not even INSIDE yet! My advice? Read up on the facts of the home before heading there, that way you know what to expect. There’s so much to see and do that you don’t want to lose the day before finishing it, and that COULD happen, especially if you have kids! The gift shop had clothing, magnets, Christmas ornaments, and mugs. There is a gift shop at the bottom of the hill, and then there is one at the main entrance. Keep in mind after walking for hours and hours, you then get to walk UP HILL for awhile BACK to the Main lobby and then up again to the parking lot. So, just be ready! I encourage all to check out this Wisconsin wonder, it will surely blow your mind! Enjoy with more pictures HERE.
Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!