Steampunk has been around for over a century. The works of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells are prime examples of this unique genre of science fiction set in the Victorian age. Admiration for this whimsical wonder has been growing in popularity. Such is the favor of steampunk, that museums and attractions dedicated to this delight are appearing more and more around the globe.
Steampunk HQ in New Zealand
Billed as New Zealand’s “Premier Steampunk Attraction,” this delightful museum boasts
retro-futuristic sci fi art, movies, sculpture, immersive light and sound experiences.” The museum is located in Omaru, New Zealand, a perfect setting of Victorian structures to house such a museum.
“Steampunk HQ opened in November 2011. It is an art collaboration proudly based in Oamaru, New Zealand. It portrays an industrial version of Steampunk, with a giant sense of humour and larger than life visions of an off the wall Steampunk universe. Steampunk HQ is well known for its full scale train engine that spits fire and billows smoke.” –Steampunk HQ Museum website
The Steampunk HQ Museum is open daily from 10am to 5pm and located at 1 Itchen St, Oamaru, New Zealand. Information on exhibits and additional images can be found on their website.
Voyage to the Iron Reef, Knott’s Berry Farm in California
This 4 minute, 4-D attraction immerses riders in a submarine adventure. With goal of defeating the Kraken Queen and her minions before she can surface and feast upon the structures above, guests must battle stylized steampunk-esque sea creatures in a video game-like adventure.
Machine Efteling Theme Park (Netherlands)
This fantasy themed amusement park is home to “Baron 1898” a fast paced coaster adventure which plummets riders into a haunted mine shaft. With a 37.5 meter (123 feet) drop and speeds of up to 90 km/h (60 mph) this adventure is not for the faint of heart!
In 1898 Baron Gustave Hooghmoed discovered a treasure of cursed gold. In attempt to escape the curse he employs several locals to retrieve the precious metal; they either perish in the process or are chased away by the Witte Weiven spirits. Along the queue, guests encounter the Baron in his office and face the foreboding spirits who warn of their doom. Once strapped into their specialized mine vehicles, they again are visited by the Witte Weiven, warning that none shall escape their curse -at which point the mine vehicle rockets off to its spirit influenced fate.
Machines de L’ile Nantes
Imagine an amusement park filled with mechanical steampunk creatures. This unique attraction is appropriately located across from the Jules Verne museum in Nantes France. The free roaming, 12 meter (40 feet) tall mechanical grand elephant is a sight to behold and thrilling adventure to ride. The 30 minute journey takes visitors between the “Carrousel des Mondes Marins” and the Galerie des Machines.
Carrousel des Mondes Marins is an enormous, three story steampunk wonder. This 82 feet high, 300 passenger, revolving surreal sea-life sensation is stocked with bizarre, haunting creature creatures of the deep. Each unique seat features its own design and matching mechanical movements. Each level has its own theme complete with matching mechanical creatures and explorative machines.
In the Gallerie des Machines is a workshop of whimsical wonders, with all sorts of mechanical creatures. Giant ants, spiders, storks, inchworms and more await the exploration and interaction of curious riders.
Cirque du Soleil: Kurious: Cabinet of Curiosities
Steampunk meets circus act in this brilliant travelling show from world-famous Cirque du Soleil.
“Step into the curio cabinet of an ambitious inventor who defies the laws of time, space and dimension in order to reinvent everything around him. Suddenly, the visible becomes invisible, perspectives are transformed, and the world is literally turned upside down.” Kurios: Cabinet of Curiosities website
Lavish sets, colorful costumes, and mesmerizing music blend with the perfectly executed performances that Cirque du Soleil is famous for. This delightful distraction is currently amazing audiences in Houston, TX (through May 21st), after that there are only four more stops on the tour: Winnipeg, MB (6/2-7/9), Edmonton, AB (7/20-8/31), Portland, OR, (8/24-10/8) and Vancouver, BC (10/19-12/3).
The soundtrack for this sensational Steampunk send-up is a perfect addition for any fan of the genre. It can be found on Amazon.com.
Steampunk’s popularity is continuing to attract fans of all ages. Pubs and restaurants around the world, like Toothsome Chocolate Emporium and Savory Feast at City Walk/Universal Resort in Orlando, FL, offer specialized steampunk themed dining experiences. Performances from Steampunk themed troupes like Phantasmagoria are ever in demand. More and more, pop-culture conventions, like Dragon Con, feature entertainment tracks dedicated to the genre. How to books and Steampunk anthologies can be found in most book stores. It seems that the imagination and craftsmanship of Jules Vern and H.G. Wells seems prepared to stick around for another 100 years or more.