‘Museum of What: Love Tour’ charms

It’s a bit pricy at $24 admission, but definitely different. They’re talking a pop-up 16,000-square-foot exhibition that opened Valentine’s Day at a former patio furniture store in the T.J. Maxx shopping center in Encinitas.

Called “Museum of What: Love Tour,” this is a non-traditional pop up museum featuring an array of blissful exhibits that will inspire you to live, laugh, and love, according to founders Ann Delaney and Kyle Hill.

The La Costa husband-and-wife team came up with the concept of a pop-up G-Rated museum of love while they operated a wedding supply business where they created party favors, nuptial arches and three-dimensional photo backdrops and props for wedding guests’ Instagram shots.

“Over the years we found that people wanted fewer tangible things and more of an experience at their weddings,” Delaney said. “People are craving love and romance.”

The pop-up spot has nearly two dozen three-dimensional room stations and painted backdrops. It’s billed as an all-ages,  non-traditional pop up museum full of unique, creative, and innovative exhibits and interactions with over 20 exhibits. Photography is encouraged during the one-hour, or so, it takes to see the show.

Inside the building, according to Pam Kragen of the San Diego Union-Tribune, there are places to hang written notes from a wishing tree, paddle a rowboat under a full moon backdrop, dig for seashells and scratch out love notes in an oversize sandbox, play in a giant pool of pink bubble balls, pose in front of a giant pair of feather wings and attach a lock of love to a fence before a mural of Paris.

Bubble up/Museum of What:Love Tour

Visitors can rake sand in a zen garden occupied by a 7-foot-tall panda sculpture, get chocolate Kisses in the Love & Kisses lounge, ride a flowered swing, pose with a dozen puppy sculptures and “walk” a trio of fake flamingos on leashes. There’s also a chalkboard room where they can write their wishes on the walls and a sassafras wood wall where people can “carve” their initials with brown Sharpee pens. To engage multiple senses, many of the rooms have their own individual scents.

Delaney, 38, said to the Union-Tribune she and her husband came up with the idea about three months ago after hearing about the success of other pop-up exhibitions, which are often little more than brightly colored interactive spaces where Instagram users can pose with oversize props in imaginatively designed rooms.

Hill, 34, is a Marine veteran from Arkansas whose passion is creating whimsical designs. One of his favorite items in the exhibit is a “love bug,” a full-size Volkswagen Beetle that he painted and decorated in dark red paint and sparkle glitter.

Tickets are sold by timed entry, with a maximum of 200 visitors per hour to reduce wait times. The exhibit is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesdays-Sundays.

General admission is $24 for adults, $15 for children ages 4 through 12. Children 3 and under are free of charge. Love Tour is on exhibit through March 15 at 220 N. El Camino Real in Encinitas.

Love Tour, which is slated to move next to Orange County, is the first exhibition of the couple’s new company, The Museum of What, according to The Union-Tribune.  Delaney said she and her husband have many as-yet undisclosed ideas in the pipeline for future themed touring exhibits.

For more information on the “Museum of What: Love Tour”, visit the website museumofwhat.com.

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