Charles Schulz Museum & Foodie Adventures

Santa Rosa Travel Blog

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Welcome to Sonoma...Love the racing cow on the sign from Infineon Raceway! LOL

Since it's Mother's Day weekend and my folks are in town, I wanted to take my Mom up to Santa Rosa to see the Charles M. Schulz museum.  My parents have had a bit of a rough week between a bit of unsettling health related news and then news of a long time family friend passing away as they were driving here Friday evening.  I thought taking them out for a day of sightseeing might help get their minds off everything and be an opportunity for us to all see something new! 

I grew up on Peanuts and Snoopy has a lot to do with how my parents met so I thought this would definitely an awesome way to spend the day.  And I also remembered from my mini Food Network addiction, hottie Guy Fieri's show (Diners, Drive In's, and Dives), there were a couple places featured near Santa Rosa that I've been wanting to try.

Welcome to Hank's Creekside Restaurant!
  Mapped everything out and figured out we could hit a featured restaurant for breakfast, do the museum, also drive up to Healdsburg (about 15 miles north of Santa Rosa) to see the winery one of my attorneys owns, and then head back home through Napa and stop for dinner at the other featured restaurant!

As with the best laid plans, they never quite work out just like you plan! LOL.  Getting Mom up and ready for my planned 8am departure proved to be futile just like I figured.  Santa Rosa isn't that far (almost 2 hours) but given the amount I was trying to pack in a day, I wanted to get up and out early so we'd have time to fit everything in!  We got on the road at 9:45am and we got to our first destination, Hanks Creekside Restaurant in Santa Rosa featured on episode "House Specials" - they are known for their awesome pancakes.

Hank's after the rush....it was packed outside when we first arrived.
  The wait time often exceeds an hour on the weekends.  After missing the parking lot turn (very small place) and the 15 minute adventure getting turned back around and in the place - we only waited 20 minutes!  The food was excellent (review to follow) and we were off and running. 

Passing back through downtown, we saw several buildings and street corners that had bit Peanuts characters statues on display which was neat.  We were in the railroad square area and there was train conductor Charlies Brown and across the street was Woodstock with his train operator's uniform. Of course, had to stop and take a few photos of them! LOL.   We later learned that all these sculptures throughout the city and at the museum were donated by sponsors and artists created unique designs which were later auctioned off.

Woodstock Sculpture - Downtown Santa Rosa
Some ended up in private homes but a majority of them were kept on display in the greater Santa Rosa area.  There's even one of Charlie Brown in his SF Giants uniform on display at the AT&T Park in San Francisco (JillianJ - I have to get a pic of that when we go to the game in August!!). 

Because Holdredge Winery closed at 4:30 and the museum at 5pm, I reversed the order and we went up to Healdsburg first to see the winery and then back down to the museum.  Finally getting to try John's award winning wines was quite the treat!  He is a partner in one of the defense firms we primarily use in that region which isn't my regular territory so I don't get to deal with their office much.  I was told he has one of the best Pinot Noir's in the world (which now has been rated one of the 30 best in the world by Food and Wine Magazine) so I knew I wouldn't be disappointed.

Tasting Room at Holdredge Winery
  Ended up loving all their wines (did a review already - linked with my wine country blog though).  I will definitely be driving up regularly now to get wine..wow were they awesome! 

After leaving there, we drove around a bit and tried to follow the signs to the new Coppola vineyard which moved from Napa and after be lead on a dead end venture, we turned around and headed to our primary destination which was the museum.   We arrived a little before 3pm so we had plenty of time to peruse everything. 

Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center

The museum was founded in 2002, across the street to the ice rink that Schulz owned and built.  Although originally from Minnesota, Schulz spent the last 30 years of his life in Santa Rosa and was a big influence and icon in the region.

The Schulz Museum and Research Center entrance
  It seemed logical to have the museum built next to the ice rink which was an important part of his daily life, and near the studio where the Peanuts characters came to life.

Unfortunately, you are not able to take pictures in any of the exhibits in the museum, except for the hallways and outdoor courtyard.  The museum features regular, permanent exhibits but also have rotating ones in the lower gallery.  The museum was really interesting and had the Peanuts tie in everywhere (including the bathroom which had some of the comic strips incorporated in the tiles).  There is a recreation of his studio and a wall from the house he once lived at in Colorado that features a nursery room painting he did for his daughter. The new owners of the house helped restore it and the museum paid to have it cut and transported to be a permanent part of the museum's display.

Morphing Snoopy
  Some of the other highlights of the tour were:

Morphing Snoopy

Spike was Schulz's childhood pet and what inspired the iconic Snoopy we love today.  Artis Yoshiteru Otaini was comissioned to create soem pieces for the museum and this was one of them.  The bas relief sculpture emphasizes Snoopy's evolution from the 1950's to 1990's.  This piece was originally a three-dimensional design rendered in layers of cut paper, has now come to life in a 7,000 lb sculpture that took over two years to complete.  Fabricated by Academy Studios, it was constructed with 43 layers of deep maple veneer and is 26 feet long, 9.5 feet high, and 10.5 inches deep. 

Christo Wrapped Doghouse

I've been a huge fan of Christo and his rather odd approach to art and even went and saw the umbrellas he did many years ago in Southern California.

Christo's Wrapped Snoopy House
I was excited to see a connection at the museum.  I couldn't get a pic from the front as it's in the exhibit gallery but you can see the back of it from the main hallways so I at least got that.  Christo had done a Running Fence piece back in Santa Rosa in the mid 1970's that Schulz was not initially a fan of but ended up flying over the piece with his son and it made quite an impression.  In 1978, Schulz did a strip about Christo wherein Snoopy discussed his past projects and what he might do next.  The end shows Snoopy standing by his doghouse which has been wrapped.  Coming full circle, Christo presented a wrapped Snoopy house to Schulz's wife and the museum in 2003 which is part of the permanent gallery. 

Courtyard Sculptures

The outdoor courtyard features several Peanuts sculpture, a granite bench dedicated to the memory of Charles Schulz and then the best is the baseball cap with Woodstock's birthbath underneath.

holographic zamboni
  If you don't go all the way out there and actually under the baseball cap, you will miss the coolest thing!  From a distance, it just looks like a normal birdbath but each panel has a holographic image that is projected onto the birdbath from the lighting in the hat.  Various hocky scenes are visible around the whole bath - we tried to take pics of all of them but a couple were hard to see because of the sunlight. 

 

Snoopy's Home Ice - The Redwood Ice Arena and the Warm Puppy Cafe

Across the street from the museum is the ice arena that Charles Schulz built and placed hockey in.  It's a full rink with a variety of skating activities available.  Outside are more large Peanuts sculptures and a bench where you can sit with Snoopy and it's a webcam that's updated every 30 seconds.

Snoopy's Home Ice & the Warm Puppy Cafe
  There's a sign that give the website and tells you to call your family and friends to have them log on so they can see you sitting with Snoopy.  We couldn't figure out who to call that might actually be home on a Saturday evening so we just took pictures with Snoopy instead! LOL.  One of the cool things around the ice arena is the cement stones which have famous ice skaters' autographs in them.  Some very recognizable names including Dorothy Hamil, Peggy Fleming (who was the star for the Gala Opening in 1968), and more recent names like Kriti Yamaguchi. 

Inside, the ice rink is very different than ones I used to frequent when I was into hocky.  It is made to look like you are actually outdoors and has scenery like building windows and lights that give it a unique ambiance.

Schulz's reserved table in the Warm Puppy Cafe
The scoreboard has a Snoopy on it and Charles' Schulz retired jersey number hangs at one end of the rink.  The rink even has a Peanuts themed Zamboni but we did not get to see it run while we were there. 

In conjunction with the Ice Rink is the Warm Puppy Cafe. This was where Charles Schulz at his breakfast and lunch everyday up until he died.  He had a reserved table right by the window that he sat at each day.  Apparently his studio was a short walk nearby which is why he came to the Warm Puppy and to watch the ice rink activity.  Not surprising that they kept his reserved table there as a tribute to the memory of such an icon. 

Snoopy's Gallery and Gift Shop

Across the parking lot from the ice rink if you continue to wander along the street is the Gallery and Gift Shop.

The Red Baron from the upstairs gallery
It's almost like another museum in itself! Apart from the unique and cool Peanuts collectibles, the second floor has various Snoopy memoribilia and more personal items from Schulz' own collection.  Most large Peanuts sculptures fill the corners and there is a huge Red Baron hanging from the ceiling that is the center of the entire store and gallery. 

On the ramp upstairs is custom handwoven carpets that line the hallways with Peanuts scenes and as you near the top, the most gorgeous Snoopy themed stained glass window and the best is the original barber shop pole from Schulz's dad's store back in Minnesota. It is still fully functional and hanging on the wall for visitors to enjoy.  Posters and merchandise from various around the world openings and shows decorate the exhibit cases there.

Me with one of the ornate Woodstock statues
  Snoopy from around the world dolls which was a big exhibit a number of years back.  More hockey jerseys from Schulz's ice rink.  This was almost as good as the museum itself! LOL

Once we finished at the gallery and store, we were ready to head back to Sacramento.  I had planned to take a detour through Napa to stop at the other foodie place I saw featured on Food Network that I've been wanting to try.  They are known for their Ahi Burger which is sushi grade ahi flown in every day! YUM!  After getting lost and stopping in a super upscale Santa Rosa neighborhood to check out some new houses for sale (took some pics as these were some gorgeous homes - cheapest was reduced to 1.

Welcome to Taylor's in St Helena, CA
9 Million), we finally made it to St. Helena and the home of Taylor's Refresher.  After all that and windy turns for miles, I am ready for my Ahi Burger.  We get up to order and the guy informs me they are OUT of Ahi!!! WHAT?!!?!?!  Ok, so it was an hour or so before closing but WHAT?!?!  He said oh, I just missed it by about 10 minutes.  Grrrrrr.  Needless to say, everyone made fun of me the rest of the night if I hadn't just made that last wrong turn I would've had my Ahi Burger instead of a Blue Cheese one!  Oh well, it was an experience....one that almost caused me to keel over right then and there.  I thought this would be a cool alternative to a restauarant because being a drive in type place, you'd expect it to be fairly reasonable pricewise.
Mmmmm....beer battered onion rings
  $70 for 4 of us - burgers, fries/onion rings and drinks.  When he told me the total I tried not to yelp and he proceeds to read the order back but all I can hear is $70 in my head for burgers!!! LOL  Don't get me wrong they were worth every penny but I was just not expecting that total! LOL. 

All in all it was a fun day and I am looking forward to getting back up to that Santa Rosa wine country area to check things out some more!  Fun times!  

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Welcome to Sonoma...Love the racin…
Welcome to Sonoma...Love the raci…
Welcome to Hanks Creekside Restau…
Welcome to Hank's Creekside Resta…
Hanks after the rush....it was pa…
Hank's after the rush....it was p…
Woodstock Sculpture - Downtown San…
Woodstock Sculpture - Downtown Sa…
Tasting Room at Holdredge Winery
Tasting Room at Holdredge Winery
The Schulz Museum and Research Cen…
The Schulz Museum and Research Ce…
Morphing Snoopy
Morphing Snoopy
Christos Wrapped Snoopy House
Christo's Wrapped Snoopy House
holographic zamboni
holographic zamboni
Snoopys Home Ice & the Warm Puppy…
Snoopy's Home Ice & the Warm Pupp…
Schulzs reserved table in the War…
Schulz's reserved table in the Wa…
The Red Baron from the upstairs ga…
The Red Baron from the upstairs g…
Me with one of the ornate Woodstoc…
Me with one of the ornate Woodsto…
Welcome to Taylors in St Helena, …
Welcome to Taylor's in St Helena,…
Mmmmm....beer battered onion rings
Mmmmm....beer battered onion rings
Me with Woodstock in downtown
Me with Woodstock in downtown
Train conductor Charlie Brown - Do…
Train conductor Charlie Brown - D…
Me with Charlie Brown
Me with Charlie Brown
Railroad Square - Antique store
Railroad Square - Antique store
My parents with Woodstock
My parents with Woodstock
Charlie Brown Sculpture at Museum …
Charlie Brown Sculpture at Museum…
Museum entrance
Museum entrance
Snoopy just inside entrance gates …
Snoopy just inside entrance gates…
comic strips featured in the bathr…
comic strips featured in the bath…
More comic strips in the actual ba…
More comic strips in the actual b…
Ceramic Tile Mural
Ceramic Tile Mural
Museum main corridor
Museum main corridor
Meet and Greet with Artist Jan Eli…
Meet and Greet with Artist Jan El…
Memorial bench in museum courtyard
Memorial bench in museum courtyard
Crossword Linus
Crossword Linus
Lucys baseball cap & Woodstocks …
Lucy's baseball cap & Woodstock's…
holographic Snoopy and Woodstock p…
holographic Snoopy and Woodstock …
holographic Snoopy
holographic Snoopy
Holographic Woodstock with a hocke…
Holographic Woodstock with a hock…
Holographic Snoopy
Holographic Snoopy
Sculpture in Courtyard that was a …
Sculpture in Courtyard that was a…
water fountain that creates a rain…
water fountain that creates a rai…
Woodstock bath sculpture inside mu…
Woodstock bath sculpture inside m…
Snoopy outside Warm Puppy Cafe
Snoopy outside Warm Puppy Cafe
Other view of Snoopy outside Warm …
Other view of Snoopy outside Warm…
Warm Puppy Cafe
Warm Puppy Cafe
Close up of Charles Schulzs reser…
Close up of Charles Schulz's rese…
Me on the Snoopy webcam bench! LOL
Me on the Snoopy webcam bench! LOL
Hockey sculpture outside ice arena
Hockey sculpture outside ice arena
Charles Schulz
Charles Schulz
Peggy Fleming
Peggy Fleming
Snoopys Home Ice entrance
Snoopy's Home Ice entrance
View of the ice arena and the Snoo…
View of the ice arena and the Sno…
Schulzs jersey in the ice arena
Schulz's jersey in the ice arena
Scotty Hamilton
Scotty Hamilton
Lucy sculpture in Gallery
Lucy sculpture in Gallery
Another hand woven carpet on the g…
Another hand woven carpet on the …
View of Gallery and Store
View of Gallery and Store
Woodstock statue in Gallery
Woodstock statue in Gallery
hand woven carpets display Peanuts…
hand woven carpets display Peanut…
stained glass window in gallery
stained glass window in gallery
painted bench in gallery
painted bench in gallery
The original barber pole that was …
The original barber pole that was…
History of the barber pole
History of the barber pole
Another Woodstock statue
Another Woodstock statue
Full view of Woodstock sculpture i…
Full view of Woodstock sculpture …
Snoopy in Fashion exhibit
Snoopy in Fashion exhibit
Round the World Dressed Snoopy exh…
Round the World Dressed Snoopy ex…
Round the World Dressed Snoopy exh…
Round the World Dressed Snoopy ex…
The Louvre exhibit posters
The Louvre exhibit posters
Ice hockey jersey from Schulzs ic…
Ice hockey jersey from Schulz's i…
Snoopy hockey rug in hockey booth …
Snoopy hockey rug in hockey booth…
Red Baron hocky jersey
Red Baron hocky jersey
Hocky exhibit wall
Hocky exhibit wall
The Senior League jersey and photos
The Senior League jersey and photos
Wish I had this for my game room! …
Wish I had this for my game room!…
These are a little hard to see wit…
These are a little hard to see wi…
The other Otani piece in the galle…
The other Otani piece in the gall…
Close up of the carpets on the wal…
Close up of the carpets on the wa…
Another carpet on the gallery walls
Another carpet on the gallery walls
My own Snoopy by the his doghouse!…
My own Snoopy by the his doghouse…
Snoopys house on the roller hocky…
Snoopy's house on the roller hock…
Darn...this one sold!
Darn...this one sold!
This is the house I want....reduce…
This is the house I want....reduc…
This one is on the market for 2.8 …
This one is on the market for 2.8…
The wine cellar garage doors!
The wine cellar garage doors!
The other garages on the left side…
The other garages on the left sid…
This was a nice house...drive arou…
This was a nice house...drive aro…
Taylors in St Helena
Taylor's in St Helena
Mmmmm...Garlic fries
Mmmmm...Garlic fries
Blue Ribbon BBQ burger....pic was …
Blue Ribbon BBQ burger....pic was…
Santa Rosa Restaurants, Cafes & Food review
Best Pancakes as Featured by Food Network!
Hank's was recently featured by Guy Fieri on Food Network's Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives which is one of my favorite shows! Since my parents were vis… read entire review
Santa Rosa
photo by: williamsworld