Marsh’s Free Museum
It may be campy, but you definitely don’t want to miss Marsh’s Free Museum (409 S. Pacific Ave., 360/642-2188, www.marshsfreemuseum.com), a huge souvenir shop in downtown Long Beach. Inside is a delightful collection of the tasteless and bizarre, much of it from old amusement parks, traveling shows, and attics.
You’ll find an impressive collection of glass fishing balls, the world’s largest frying pan, a vampire bat skeleton, an old bottle with a human tapeworm, a gruesome photo of a 1920 triple hanging, and a two-headed calf.
Drop a nickel for a flapper-era peep show, pay a dime to test your passion factor on the “throne of love,” or search the jam-packed shelves for a stupid postcard, goofy T-shirt, cheap trinket, or bright seashell.
Oh, and you won’t want to miss “Jake the Alligator Man,” stuck in a back corner inside a glass aquarium; he once starred in that arbiter of tabloid discernment, the Weekly World News.
If you like kitsch, you’ll rate this as Washington’s finest gift shop! Out front of Marsh’s is a small climbing wall ($5 per climb).
© Ericka Chickowski from Moon Washington, 8th edition