With five Guinness Book of World Records collections, the Granja Colonia Arenas Museum, Uruguay is an interesting to spend an afternoon.
What started off as a modest souvenir collection ballooned into four rooms containing over 80,000 items meticulously collected by the farming Arenas family patriarch over the past 50 years.
This museum of oddities boasts one of the largest pencil collection in the world: two roomfuls with pencil filled display cabinets.
The free of charge venue also has an impressive collection of 36,000 key chains, 4800 ashtrays, 3600 perfume bottles, 10,000 matchboxes and several hundred, drink cans.
Located in the quirky, quaint town of Colonia de Sacramento, the museum has created such a name for itself that it is recognized by the Ministry of Tourism of Uruguay.
Besides checking out the world’s largest collection of lead pencils, kids can get a kick out of identifying vintage trinkets and random objects that the family has amassed over half a century.
Older children might appreciate the history and the effort of the owner to scope out and visit pencil factories around the world to add to his collection.
While famous for its collection of, tchotchkes, the Arenas family is known in the area for their delicious jams. Visitors will find the traditional fruit-flavored jams as well as some more unique flavors, such as onion or pepper ones. Tasting is free and makes sure you grab a jar or two to take home with you!
We visited the Museum, in the late afternoon, on a day trip to Colonia from Montevideo.
After getting a brief introduction from our guide, we had a chance to explore the displays on our own.
Our son with autism who loves to collect souvenirs felt right at home and was fascinated by especially by the pens and pencils featured. As the owner, he too would like to start a collection that will eventually lead to a mention in the Guinness book of Records.
Next, after using their clean restrooms, we got a chance to taste the different products that the ranch produced and especially liked to eat the cheeses and jams. Regrettably they sizes of jars sold were too large for us to pack and bring back to the US in our carry on luggage, but we did take the email address of the owner so we could contact them about shipping a couple of jars back to California via the post.
Almost all day trip bus tours from Montevideo stop there on the way to or from Colonia de Sacramento.From Buenos, Aires travelers need to take a ferry to Colonia and then take a short 15-minute bus ride.
Location & Hours of Operation
The Arenas Museum of Oddities located at Ruta Nº1 km. 167 – Riachuelo in the town of Colonia de Sacramento in Uruguay is open daily from 8:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
The Granja Colonia has toilets and a playground area which is ideal for active kids.Furthermore, this is a working ranch so visitors can walk around and see farm animals.
Autism Travel Tips
- Since the Arenas is a working farm, there are animals in the back, which could be frightening or bothersome for those with allergies or scent sensitivities.
- Prepare the kids before visiting the fact they can’t touch any displayed items.
- The walls of the museum rooms are covered with trinkets and collections, which could be overstimulating to people with autism.
You can email or call the Arenas family for more information: (+598) 4520 2025