After we finished our trip to Magnolia Market and getting a ton of photos there we realized we were not quite ready to drive back home yet, so we looked up other things to do in Waco. Side note – there really are not a ton of things to do in Waco other than visit Magnolia Market. However, we found out that there is a Dr. Pepper museum in town. Dr. Pepper is my husband’s favorite soda. When we first met I could not stand the taste of it, but after five years of marriage I’ve gotten to the point where I really don’t think it’s that bad. In fact, some times I even semi-like it. We both decided it would be fun to explore and we were definitely right! This is a little gem of a museum hidden only a couple blocks away from Magnolia Market. If you make the trip to Waco, I would definitely recommend checking this out too.
When drove up to the museum and were impressed by how large it was. It’s comprised of two fairly large buildings with a huge courtyard in the middle. The courtyard even had an old Dr. Pepper delivery vehicle in it. Of course, you’re not permitted to climb on the truck, but it was really unique to see what used to be used to delivery sodas. We walked around the courtyard and took a few photos before we decided to go inside.
We entered the museum and I was immediately impressed. It’s not every museum that has put such attention to detail into some of the rooms you walk through. One of the first rooms is decorated to look like an old shop that would sell the earliest version of Dr. Pepper. both outside and inside. The room also has an animatronic staff person from the shop who speaks details related to shops and Dr. Pepper. It was fairly interesting and incredibly neat to look through. It really reminded me of what some of my parents or grandparents might have experienced in their youth.
In another part of the museum they had the complete scene of what a store selling Dr. Pepper would have looked like, as well as a bunch of the old Dr. Pepper vending machines. For all you Marvel nerds out there – they have the vending machine used in a Thor commercial. In the commercial Thor smashes the vending machine trying to get to a Dr. Pepper. The machine that was smashed is now housed in the museum. It was really awesome to see because I do remember watching that a few years ago when it first came out.
After walking through this area we stumbled into a history of Dr. Pepper leadership, including the Hall of Dr. Pepper Presidents. For the most part, this sort of thing isn’t really for me, however, I was really intrigued by the story of W.W. Clements. He used to have a container on his desk that held marbles. Not just any old marbles, but ones with the Golden Rule inscribed on them. He would share these with everyone in the company, and other CEOs he’d meet with. It was his leadership philosophy. I know there are a variety of leadership styles and philosophies out there, but I really enjoyed that the museum spent so much time on this detail. It really connected with me and made my day.
As we continued wandering through the museum we found an auditorium that played a bunch of the old Dr. Pepper commercials. We watched a few of them and found that we even remembered some of them. How cool is that? It really brought back memories of watching TV when I was little. After walking around this area we went to the other building where they keep machinery that used to bottle Dr. Peppers. It was interesting to see all the moving pieces and know that this is how they used to actually do this. This area was really set up for kids. They had much more interactive areas and even a little car race. Of course I made my husband try it with me. Maddie’s car won the race.
We enjoyed that this area not only had interactive exhibits, but they did live demonstrations every hour or two. Had we stayed longer we would have watched one. Unfortunately, baby Maddie had reached her limit so we headed home. This section of the museum also had an actual Dr. Pepper shop where you could buy Dr. Pepper floats, ice cream, sodas, and more. The staff were very friendly and helpful and they had cute keepsakes you could pick up if you wanted to. I was really pumped to see they sold marbles with the Golden Rule on them, just like in W.W. Clements office. It made me want to start my own collection so I could share them with others just like he did.
At the end of our trip James and I both said we were glad we stopped into this museum. Not only do I have a greater understanding of the evolution of sodas over the years, but it was an interesting history lesson in marketing and machinery, as well. If you make the trip to Waco I would absolutely tell you to stop by the museum before you leave. You won’t regret it.
What’s your favorite soda? Are you a Dr. Pepper fan?