If you’re looking for something inexpensive yet fun and informative to do on Santa Catalina Island, you’ll want to visit the Catalina Island Museum currently located in the Catalina Casino building. (Note: New location is under construction and due to complete this year). Right now Adults can get in for $5, and children under 15 get in Free! It’s one of the cheapest thing you can do in Avalon, and one of the first things you’ll want to do on the island to learn fun facts (plus it’s not super big so you have plenty of time to play).
History of Catalina Island
In 1887, George Shatto purchased Santa Catalina Island and was the first person to attempt and develop it into a travel destination. In 1915, there was a fire and he later sold it to the infamous William Wrigley, Jr. in 1919 who has never been to the island. Wrigley bought it after his wife wanted to live there. At the time, Wrigley owned the Chicago Cubs, and in 1921, he brought them to the island for spring training which started a tradition that continued for 30 years. The Cubs trained at the “Field of Dreams” which was an exact replica of Wrigley Field in Chicago where they played.
Did you know that Marilyn Monroe’s maiden name was Norma Jeane Baker? Norma Jeane Baker married at age 16 to James Dougherty at a very young age arranged by her guardian to get her out of a bad living situation. During WWII in 1943, the married couple stayed on Catalina Island for about six months while her husband was stationed there.
Island had a local clay that was highly sought out and is now
collectible. There were thousands of pieces of pottery and tiles
produced by Catalina Clay Products between 1927 and 1937 including
brick, vases, candleholders, bookends, lamps and tiles and dishware. In
1937 all equipment and molds were sold to Gladding, McBean & Co.
Other exhibits include Artist John Gabriel Beckman’s original artwork for the Casino Theatre, The Strange
and Mysterious Case of Dr. Glidden as well as his archives, Old Ben, Natalie Wood’s unsolved mystery, Eroll Flynn, The Avalon Casino, and more. Note: Their special exhibition gallery changes every 2 to 3 times a year.
Catalina Island Museum Treasure Map
New at the museum is a fun scavenger hunt map. Children can turn in their answers for a prize at the museum store.
New Location Coming Soon!
Island Museum’s new home is currently under construction due to
complete late summer and early fall. Currently due to limited space,
they are displaying only 1% of their collection. Their new location will
include a new amphitheater and will be climate controlled in hopes to
broaden culture on the island.