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Going abroad can be a pretty strange experience, especially in a country as unique as China. However, you can make your trip to Beijing even more interesting by a visit to one of these weird museums. We can assure you that none of these are available in any other city!
What makes it unique: Located on the original site of the Beijing City Water Supply Company, just outside what used to be the old East City gate, the tap water museum serves the important purpose of spreading the message for water conservation to its visitors, as well as explaining Beijing's water history. It also has a little park with an old water pump, and displays a range of tools used to supply the huge landlocked city with its water. There is a tour guide at the museum, but their English tends to be extremely limited. However, they were keen to walk with us and point some things out, making for a really friendly museum experience.
What makes it unique: Surprisingly big, the China Honey Bee Museum pays homage to these tiny, but extremely useful, pollinators. It does so in the picturesque Beijing Botanical Gardens. Within the museum, there are a total of 600 bee specimens, including some interesting bee fossils. There is also a great bee-keeping exhibition, for anyone who has been thinking about taking it up as a new hobby, or just wants to learn more about where their honey comes from.
What makes it unique: The Daxing Watermelon Museum is like a tribute to watermelons; Beijing's favourite summer fruit! It is located inside the Watermelon Research Institute and near a few of Beijing's largest watermelon plantations. This explains why most of the exhibits are about the cultivation of different types of watermelons. There are even a variety of comics, statues, paintings, and other art that feature this popular summer fruit.
What makes it unique: Zoukoudian Peking Man Museum was built on the original site where the Peking Man was discovered in 1921, located in Zhoukoudian village about 50 kilometers southwest of Beijing. Peking Man was the first humanoid discovered in China, and belongs to the homo erectus species, originating in the Paleolithic Age. All around the museum are separate sites that have been excavated, boasting an abundance of animal fossils and rare stones. The latest discovery was in 2005, when over 100 animal fossils were discovered by the entrance of Apeman Cave.
What makes it unique: The Beijing Diabolo Museum displays one of Beijing's most popular outdoor activities — the diabolo, or a Chinese yoyo. Essentially, it is an empty roller shaped like a dumbbell which is spun and tossed on a string that is tied between two bamboo sticks. This museum has a total of 400 diabolos, and presents quite a few tricks for your entertainment.
What makes it unique: Especially great for coin collectors or those with a particular interest in monetary history, the Ancient Coin Museum houses old Chinese shell coins, cloth coins, grimace money, and coins from every Chinese dynasty. It is located on an extremely busy intersection, and construction work is currently being done to the surroundings. There is also a good gift shop for friends and family at home who are into collecting coins.
What makes it unique: The Red Star Erguotou Museum is located in a factory which is still in use today to produce Erguotou, one of the most popular brands of Chinese rice wine. Although it has a very distinct taste, you may want to take this opportunity to try the traditional Chinese alcohol. Be careful not to go to this museum on an empty stomach though, as Erguotou (/err-gwor-toh/) comes in many different strengths averaging 56% alcohol by volume.
What makes it unique: The Qianding Old Liquor Museum is well hidden amongst the last remaining Beijing hutongs, and proudly displays over 1,300 liquor brands, making it a must for anyone interested in China's boozy history. Quite a few of the wines on display are considered very rare, or even one-of-a-kind, and you will not be able to see them anywhere else. The area around the museum is also definitely worth a wonder for an insight into inner-city Chinese living. Best to go soon, as many residences have already fallen victims to bulldozers, and the area is about to undergo a huge transformation.
What makes it unique: The Milu Park Museum is a museum exhibiting Pere David's deer, or milu (/mee-loo/) in Chinese, which is a strange deer-like creature that became extinct towards the end of the Qing dynasty. Those on show at the park, located 14 kilometers outside of Beijing's urban jungle, are descendants of 18 animals that were collected in 1898 from zoos in Europe. All throughout the park, the deer are living freely, in a widely varied setting with swamps, grassland, ponds and forests. There is also an opportunity for bird-watching, especially during the mornings, as many migratory birds can be spotted.
If you are interested in visiting any of these museums, China Highlights can tailor them into your personal Beijing tours. Simply contact us to learn more about this. For some of our most popular tours, check out the Beijing tour page.