Explore the Quirky Side of Butler County

Curious.  Strange.  Unusual.  While one might not typically describe Butler County, Pennsylvania in these terms, they are just as relevant and accurate as more commonly used words such as scenic, historical, and quaint.  That’s because Butler County is home to many interesting and unusual things that some might describe as, well, downright quirky.

If you’re looking to find some interesting places off the beaten path that will make you chuckle, open your eyes in awe or wonder “what were they thinking?,” then come to Butler County and discover our curious, strange, and unusual places just waiting to be explored.

 

Slippery Rock

With a name like Slippery Rock, who wouldn’t be curious about this small town?

  • The area is home to Slippery Rock University where a ghost is said to haunt theatrical productions and one of the historical dorm buildings.
  • Check out North Country Brewing Company, an eclectic microbrewery and restaurant filled with intricate wood carvings and sculptures.  Stop by and ask the owners about their building’s history as a funeral home!
  • Nearby, you’ll be blown away by a shiny silver spaceship that is a must-see. The building is constructed with aluminum plates to resemble a real stealth bomber and houses Playthings, Etc., a toy store that is stocked with merchandise as amazing as the building itself.
  • A prairie in Pennsylvania?  That’s right!  The state’s only protected prairie can be found at Jennings Environmental Education Center.  Stop by and you might also catch a glimpse of the massasauga rattlesnake thought to be the single most endangered species in the state.  In fact, half of the state’s population of these snakes resides at the Center.

 

Butler

It’s the county seat, but so much more!

  • Many curiosities can be discovered at the Maridon Museum, western Pennsylvania’s only museum dedicated to Asian art and culture.  Here you’ll find items such as humorous Japanese netsukes, carved jewelry pieces used to tie a kimono or sash. You’ll also see hundreds of sculptures and other artforms, all rare with a unique story to tell.
  • See an original Bantam Jeep, the first type of jeep produced for the military right here in Butler.  It’s on display at the Butler County Historical Society.
  • The Butler County Airport is where Amelia Earhardt took instrument training and had fuel tanks installed on her plane as she prepared for her 1932 solo crossing of the Atlantic Ocean.  An elevated helicopter is in the parking lot.
  • Near the intersection of Three Degree Road and Renfew Road you'll find some large and ominous samurai sculptures.  We're not sure why they're there, which is part of the appeal!
  • Did you ever have a desire to blow glass?  Or did you ever wonder how this art form works?  Then stop by the Glass Blowing Center (north of Butler in Hilliards) where you can see a demonstration and learn about every step in the process.

 

Mars

It really is a town and it’s not inhabited by aliens.  Here you’ll find a small town filled with people who have a great sense of humor.  After all, if you live in Mars you have to!

  • Stop by the spaceship in the town square for a great photo opportunity.  Then mail a letter to friends at home from Mars.  In 2015, they even celebrated Mars' New Year (in June!).

 

Saxonburg

Like several of Butler County’s towns, Saxonburg began as a vision for a wholesome town offering a new life for German settlers. One of the town's founders even went on to leave his mark on the "Big Apple."

  • A sizable replica of the Brooklyn Bridge is located in Roebling Park.  John Roebling, one of the town founders designed the real bridge and invented the wire rope that was used to build it.  

Harmony

Harmony is one of a few National Historic Landmark Districts.  This town was settled by a group of celibate German Separatists who became 19th America’s most successful communal group.

  • The Harmonists were a quirky bunch.  Find out about their idiosyncrasies at the Harmony Museum, open year-round.
  • Check out the massive revolving stone gate at the Harmony Society Cemetery along the edge of town.  You won’t find any grave markers for the 100 people buried there as they simply didn’t believe in them.
  • Grab a bite at the historic Harmony Inn.  Locals say the house in haunted so be sure to ask them about some of their unusual experiences. The Inn also sports an interesting feature on it's "face" (pun intended!). 

 

Evans City

  • In Evans City you can walk in the footsteps of the living dead.  The 1968 classic film Night of the Living Dead shot their opening scenes at the Evans City Cemetery, right here in Butler County!

 

Our quirkiness isn’t limited to the places mentioned so if we’ve peaked your curiosity and you’d like to learn more about Butler County’s weird and wacky, let us know!  We’re convinced we can tell you about dozens more reasons to come to Butler County for a visit that gives a whole new meaning to the word “unique!”

We also can recommend some places to stay overnight that have a quirkiness all their own.  With so many things to see and do, one night isn’t enough.