1937 Spam Blvd., Austin, about 90 minutes south of Minneapolis, Minnesota
Since 1937 Hormel Foods has sold nearly 6 billion cans of SPAM, a mixture of cooked pork and ham, once a staple in American households. The museum, located right next door to the multinational food manufacturer, presents a nostalgic tribute to the all-American luncheon meat.
A treat for trivia buffs, it features 19 permanent exhibits, serving up facts of SPAM history and mania. Upon walking through the entrance, you see a towering wall of SPAM. Composed of 3,390 cans of SPAM, it rises to the lobby’s ceiling. A video, SPAM Exam, challenges connoisseurs to test their product knowledge. Promotions include SPAM spoofs (including the infamous Monty Python sketch) and recent corporate efforts to distinguish SPAM from the disparaging term for junk e-mail.
There’s also a SPAM Cyber-Diner, a working radio station (K-SPAM), a display of advertising over the years, and a replica of a Hormel production line, where visitors can pack and label their own can of SPAM (fake, of course).
Visitors can take a quick drive to the eastern side of town, on 21st St. NE, for a stroll through the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center. This 507-acre expanse offers 10-plus miles of walking trails past restored and remnant prairie, hardwood forest, and wetlands. In addition, visitors can stop by the informative interpretive center, which features a touch-and-see exhibit and a live beehive.
Open daily May– Labor Day; Tues.– Sun. the rest of the year. Closed major holidays.
(507) 437-5100 Museum
(507) 437-7519 Nature Center