I’m always on the hunt for a truly unique place to write about, and when the Bunny Museum was brought to my attention, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to visit. It is one of those places that is best described in the numerous awards that it has received, from adjectives such as “offbeat, bizzare, awesome, weird, strange, insane, outlandish, and quirky”. When I walked through the door, it was like magic, as if the great mythical bunny himself, the Easter Bunny, had delivered the golden egg of kitsch. Bunnys everywhere, big and small, displayed with care, for all to admire and appreciate.
A living museum
Unlike other museums, this museum comes without big fancy facades or parking lots, although you will see a large bunny in the front yard that identifies that you have arrived at this unique place. This particular bunny is called “Roller Bunny” and was part of a Rose Parade float from 1998. Today it is entirely grown over by ivy, making it appear as a huge bunny topiary. The museum is located in a private home in the city of Pasadena, and is known as a “living” museum, since it is within the private residence of Candace Frazee and Steve Lubanski, who have been married since 1994. I have to admit, initially it seemed a little odd walking up to enter into a private home, but once at the porch, it is obvious that this home is the real deal. Even celebrities such as Elijah Wood and the late Huell Howser, host of California’s Gold, have visited this eccentric museum. There is a sign in table to register before you enter, which helps them to know how many visitors they have and from where around the world their visitors have come from. Visitors have come from over 46 countries around the world, including 47 states of the United States. The porch is adorned with plaques stating the rules upon entering the home, in English, Spanish, and Chinese.
Welcome to the Bunny Museum
We were warmly greeted by Candace, who welcomed us to the “Hoppiest place in the world”. She quickly went over the rules, explaining that no purses or bags were allowed inside the museum, however photography is welcome. Please leave important items in your car, hidden from plain sight of course, or you can leave them in their bunny box. If paying your suggested donation of $5 per person by cash, she will accept the “bunny money” at the door. If paying by card (yes, she accepts credit cards) you can wait until the end, because there is even a bunny gift shop, where you may find a souvenir you want to take home.
Once you step into the home, it is obvious that you have ventured into a unique display of the world’s largest bunny collection. There are 2 official plaques from the Guinness World Records on the wall stating their official status of the world’s largest bunny collection, both taken at different times. The first stated that they had acquired 8437 bunny themed collectables as of August 6, 1999. The second stated that they had acquired 28,423 items by March 25, 2011. As of today, in August 2015, there are over 32,000 items. The collection keeps growing on a daily basis, as Candace and Steve both gift each other a new bunny item every single day.
How it all began
Steve and Candace met at a singles group 23 years ago, and went on to get married in 1994. For Valentine’s day, Steve gave Candace a stuffed bunny, which is on display in the main entrance. It was representative of the fact that she was his “Honey Bunny”. She in turn gave him a porcelain bunny for Easter, but soon after they decided to not wait just for holidays to give this special token of their love, so they continued to give each other bunny items on a daily basis as a symbol of their love for each other. Today, their bunny collection is the physical manifestation of a love story between Steve and Candace. They have given each other a new bunny item every day since. They had joked that if he had given her a frog for that first Valentine’s Day, then they would have a frog museum today instead!
When it began, Steve and Candace weren’t obsessed by bunnys, but rather their love for rabbits happened to grow out of their collective love story. Candace has always been animal friendly and an animal lover, as she has been a vegetarian for many years. They own 3 cats and 3 rabbits, which pretty much keep to themselves and stay out of each other’s worlds. One of the cats came to welcome us as we approached the house, and another was very friendly in the back yard. The 3 rabbits live indoors. The largest of the 3 rabbits is a Flemish Giant, which is larger than many cats! A museum dedicated to all things bunny just wouldn’t be complete without live bunnies! They also promote responsible bunny care and ownership. Owning a rabbit takes a lot more work than some people expect, so they have made a clear outline of the realities of rabbit ownership. To see their list of considerations, click here. While Candace and Steve do accept certain types of gifts, please do not bring them any live animals.
A kid friendly museum
This museum is sure to be a winner if you have kids. Not only are there so many fun bunny collectables to see, there are activities as well. They have bunny puzzles you can put together, markers to make bunny art on the white kitchen cabinets, and outside there are buckets of 3D chalk to create fun bunny designs on the driveway. You can also pose for pictures with bunny ears props. Please stay with your children as you tour the museum though to ensure that nothing is hurt or knocked over in the small spaces. Even the back yard has bunny things to see, but please stay with your children to ensure their safety and respect the homeowners property.
More than a bunnyholic
I really enjoyed talking with Candace during my trip. She is a confidant woman who is not afraid to ask questions or speak her mind. Steve and Candace do have other interests outside of their living museum. Steve owns a bicycle shop, and Candace is a writer. She has written 3 books, which are available for sale in the gift shop. Her books are about life after death based on her religion Swedenborgian, the same church that the Wayfarers Chapel belongs to, in Rancho Palos Verdes. Fittingly, this is also the site where they said their vows many years ago. Candace and I chatted for awhile about her faith, her skills as a writer, and cooking amazing vegetarian food. I left there feeling like I had met a friend, who was able to offer some great words of inspiration.
Visiting the Bunny Museum
The Bunny Museum is open 365 days a year, but requires appointments for all days except holidays. It is also closed in the mornings. To make your appointment, call (626) 798-8848. The museum is located at 1933 Jefferson Dr., Pasadena, CA 91104. Be prepared to leave your belongings, including purses in their bunny box, or leave them in a safe location out of view in your car. Photography and videos are welcome. You can bring vegetables and fruits to feed the real bunnies too. Click here to visit their website.
**In the near future, the bunny museum will be relocating to a larger location (still a living museum) in the Pasadena area. Look for updates on their website.