Momma Told Me: The Wax Works- Newport, Oregon

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Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Wax Works- Newport, Oregon

The Wax Works: Newport, Oregon (Mariner's Square)
Momma Told Me: Sometimes life gets a little cheesy.

Okay, I'll admit, I've had an unnatural fear of wax sculptures from an early age. There is something simply creepy about a replica of someone so smooth, and slightly imperfect just staring back at you from marble eyes. And the 2005 film House of Wax didn't help ease that discomfort either; between Paris Hilton's cameo and the thought of being 'waxed' alive, you could say I'd rather brush elbows with Pennywise the clown than any wax sculpture of a celebrity. And now that that's been said- I decidedly had to buck up when my niece and I visited The Wax Works, at Mariner's Square- Newport, Oregon on our road trip this past Summer.
Spock: The Wax Works: Newport, Oregon (Mariner's Square)
You may recall that Mariner's Square is this lovely tourist trap spot nestled in the bay of Newport, Oregon. While the Square itself is a collection of 3 family attractions (Ripley's Believe It Or Not!, The Wax Works, and Undersea Gardens) there are several quaint downtown restaurants and shops to browse as well. While these attractions don't seem to have had many new exhibits or updates since the 80's, its a great way to kill an afternoon for about $25 a person (which will get you an all day pass to all 3 of the attractions.)
Remember that fear I was telling you about? Well they don't tell you that this particular wax museum's (and several older ones usually are) very poorly lit. Perhaps the dramatic shadows and sharp lighting add thematic value, but I just found the whole thing unnerving. I can't really say whether the more lifelike sculptures put me any less on edge than the older, more rounded ones- we were walking from dark room to dark room pretty much alone. I tried my best not to imagine an axe murderer waiting in the wings behind Marilyn Monroe. Thankfully I had my wing man by my side.
The Wax Works: Newport, Oregon (Mariner's Square)
In general there was a good range of sculptures to take in. From regional content such as the rustic loggers, mysteriously disappearing parachuter, and Big Foot to the more modern exhibits with movie characters and celebrities, we slowly took in it all. The biggest highlight for me, and arguably the most modern and realistic sculpture was Johnny Depp. I'll now hang my head again as I tell you that Sabrina (12) had no clue who he was, even with the 'Pirates' poster hanging behind him. I would have snapped a selfie with Mr. Depp but again- that fear....
Johnny Depp- The Wax Works: Newport, Oregon (Mariner's Square)
When I wasn't glancing around anxiously with 'wax museum paranoia I was paying attention to the unique details that went into each character and set. I actually found myself curious where the hair was sourced from, horse, synthetic, or human; and wished that there was more information provided in each room to help answer these questions. And just how does one get into professional wax sculpting?  I'd suppose it starts as a harmless hobby, just like taxidermy?
Lord Of The Rings- The Wax Works: Newport, Oregon (Mariner's Square)
Not too far down the hall from Johnny was a Lord of The Rings exhibit that best portrayed The Wax Work's need to reach a younger crowd through interactive elements. While some of the buttons weren't quite working, the idea was that a visitor could stage their own scene through the use of steam vents, lighting, and a remotely controlled dragon head. It seemed to occupy the tween for a good amount of time and earn me some 'cred' as the Aunt who drug brought her there in the first place.
Around the corner was a sort of Indiana Jones meets witch doctor setup with giant vases guests were encouraged to 'reach into,' steaming crypts, and a giant Plasma ball that again captivated the tween. Then it was down through a hallway across a bridge that was suspended in the middle of a room where the walls constantly spun, reflecting various lights. The effect was to feel as though you were falling through a vortex, and I don't suppose such a short walk has ever felt so impossible to complete in my life!
E.T.- The Wax Works: Newport, Oregon (Mariner's Square)Star Wars, Yoda and Jawa- The Wax Works: Newport, Oregon (Mariner's Square)
The last wing was another of my favorites- truly an offering to children of the 80's. Despite the fact that the Jawa looked like one of our dog's plush chew toys, Yoda was magnificently sculpted. The room could use an update on some scenery (who knows maybe the real Jawa was stolen?) but it certainly tickled my nerdy bone. And the interactive E.T. in space capsule? Priceless. Touch the glass where E.T.'s finger rests and watch your own glow red, just like the beloved movie! Speaking of which- have you heard the Tinseltown rumors of a remake of this beloved film???
Darth Maul- The Wax Works: Newport, Oregon (Mariner's Square)
And, just before we exited, into the gift shop (like all good tourist attractions do) we came around the corner to be greeted, face to face with this terrifying Darth Maul replica. This was one case where lighting worked perfectly in the exhibit's favor. If Han Solo hadn't been suspended in Carbonite just a few feet away, I would have sworn we were done for! Yes, it certainly was a visit worth admission, and one the tween wouldn't stop talking about! Have you ever been to a Wax Museum?

What Daughter Says: I faced my fear, and I survived the wax. Though, I'm not sure the 'cheese factor' made it any less terrifying!


  1. That's pretty good! I've been to the one in Los Angeles, but didn't realize there were wax museums in other parts of the country also!

  2. I love places like this. All the detail into the figures, all the different cultures and time periods. Thanks for sharing some great photos.

  3. Oooooo..... I have to say, I'm with you when it comes to wax museums. My youngest son and I visiting the one in Buena Park CA and it took us at least a 1/2 hour to build up the nerve to walk past the Psycho exhibit. Ha!

  4. What a fun museum! I'm always blown away by how realistic these wax figures can look! I've been to one when I was in Cali but I'd love to visit this one in Oregon!

  5. I have never seen a wax figure, but I am sure it would freak me out.

  6. Wax museums look fun but creepy at the same time. We don't have one near us but I'd love to visit one day.

  7. I love Newport Oregon!! We went to this wax museum after we got married, my husband had never seen anything like them. It's a must see attraction in Newport for sure!

  8. Oh wow, I have always wanted to go to a wax museum.

  9. I have never gone to a wax museum before, and I am totally creeped out by them too! I just don't think this is for me, lol

  10. I haven't been to a wax museum, but it looks so cool! I would love to go to one for laughs... wax replicas of people make me giggle!

  11. Wow, what a great wax museum! The Spock figure looks so real. I have not been to a wax museum in a long time but I really should take my kids.

  12. I've never been to a wax museum. Would love to someday. Sounds interesting. That Yoda sculpture is pretty awesome.