Charles Schulz drew the world-famous Peanuts comic strip for almost 50 years, and from 1958 until his death in 2000, he lived in Sonoma County. In honor of Schulz and the Peanuts gang, the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center (2301 Hardies Ln., Santa Rosa, 707/579-4452, www.schulzmuseum.org , Mon. and Wed.–Fri. 11 a.m.–5 p.m., Sat.–Sun. 10 a.m.–5 p.m., adults $8, seniors/children $5) opened in 2002.
Inside the 27,000-square-foot building, which somehow manages to look like it comes from a four-inch comic strip, you’ll find an incredible wealth of multimedia art, original drawings, and changing exhibitions based on the works of Charles Schulz.
No matter how many times you visit, you’re likely to see something new in the ever-changing exhibits. Plenty of permanent collections provide stability and a base for the museum’s theme.
The museum owns most of the original Peanuts strips, a large collection of Schulz’s personal possessions, and an astonishing array of tribute artwork (from everyone from other comic strip artists to urban installation designers the world over).
Outside the building, the grounds include attractive gardens, the Snoopy Labyrinth, and even the infamous Kite-Eating Tree.
Schulz’s influence is felt outside the museum property as well. Across the street you can skate at Snoopy’s Home Ice. (Schulz was an avid hockey player for most of his life.) And throughout downtown Santa Rosa, especially in Historic Railroad Square, you’ll see colorful sculptures depicting favorite members of the Peanuts gang brightening the streets, making people smile.