The iconic characters of the Peanuts comic strip may have lived somewhere in Minnesota, but their creator, Charles Schulz, lived for decades in Santa Rosa—and the large Charles M. Schulz Museum is a testament to the comic strip’s deep California roots.
What to Expect at the Charles M. Schulz Museum
Charles Schulz first moved to Sonoma County in 1958, and his studio sat on what became the site of this museum, which opened in 2002, two years after his death. One focal point of the museum is a re-creation of that workspace where Schulz penned so many comic strips, but the museum’s collection also includes thousands of original artworks, along with related photographs and letters. There are also tribute pieces, like the huge tile wall by a Japanese artist—depicting Lucy holding the football for Charlie Brown—and an array of Peanuts memorabilia, such as the first Snoopy plush dolls from the 1950s. (Of course, you can buy contemporary memorabilia in the on-site gift shop.)
The museum is home to a 100-seat theater that shows short films about Schulz, though most of the theater schedule is devoted to the deep inventory of Peanuts specials, from seasonal holiday classics to evergreen specials like Life Is a Circus, Charlie Brown. Check the museum’s events page for hands-on activities, like craft-making for kids, or animation workshops for all ages.
Exhibitions at the Charles M. Schulz Museum
In addition to such permanent exhibitions as a life-size rendition of Snoopy’s doghouse wrapped by the environmental artist Christo and the already-mentioned re-creation of Schulz’s studio, the museum has three gallery spaces with exhibits that change every six months to a year. Currently the downstairs changing gallery is showing Kite-Flying Foibles, which makes a deep dive into Charlie’s complicated relationship with kites and a certain kite-eating tree.
More Things to Do at the Charles M. Schulz Museum
The museum complex is not just about exhibits, either. Go across the street and tie on some ice skates at Snoopy’s Home Ice, the indoor rink that predates the museum by decades—Schulz had it built in 1969. Sip some hot cocoa at the rink’s Warm Puppy Café, or stroll the neighboring Snoopy Labyrinth, a contemplative path in the shape of the beagle’s head.
More Places to See Snoopy in California
Peanuts fans can see statues of Snoopy and the gang scattered around the town of Santa Rosa (there are four at the local airport, also named after Schulz). In Southern California, meanwhile, Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park has its own Peanuts connection, with a Camp Snoopy section of little-kid-friendly rides, a Snoopy HQ gift shop, and Snoopy-themed live shows—which are often on ice.
Things to Do Near the Charles M. Schulz Museum
Santa Rosa is a short drive from so many notable Bay Area towns and cities that are well worth a visit. Bodega Bay, Healdsburg, Sebastopol, Petaluma, Sonoma, and the Napa Valley are all within an hour’s drive away, most within a half-hour’s drive. To plan a wine country getaway in Napa Valley or Sonoma County, start by checking out these luxury lodgings and excellent dining.