Unravel the Secrets of the Mystery Spot in California
The Mystery Spot is one of the most talked about travel destinations in the Santa Cruz, CA area. This “gravitational anomaly” is just 150 feet in diameter, but has an outsized presence in the popular imagination. It offers visitors a perplexing, perturbing experience that they just can’t seem to get enough of. If you dig visiting quirky attractions like Yellowstone’s Old Faithful or Roswell, NM’s Area 51, then you’ll love visiting the Mystery Spot. Located at 465 Mystery Spot Road, it’s near the Happy Valley Conference Center and Branciforte Creek. In 2014, California named this venue a historical landmark. Here’s what you need to know about visiting.
Where to Stay
There are several Santa Cruz hotels in the area. One good possibility is to make your base of operations the Hyatt Place Santa Cruz. Located at 407 Broadway Avenue, it’s only an 11-minute drive away from the Mystery Spot. Become a member, and enjoy a free breakfast. The Hyatt Place Santa Cruz is centrally located, so you can also head over to the Boardwalk, Wharf, and other downtown attractions. Situated in a more rustic setting, the Chaminade Resort & Spa is also close to the Mystery Spot. This hotel, situated on a mountaintop in northwestern Santa Cruz, offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside. Even though you’ll want to stay and relax on its historic Mission-style, it’s still close to the downtown attractions of Santa Cruz.
Heading to the Mystery Spot
Because this venue is a hot (mystery) spot, operators suggest that you book a tour and buy tickets ahead of time. You may do so online. The cost is $8 per ticket. Parking costs $5 per vehicle. Plan to arrive about half an hour early, and have cash on hand.
Active duty military personnel receive free admission. Simply present your military ID. You will receive your discount if you pre-order tickets by showing the ID at the venue.
What Makes the Mystery Spot so Mysterious?
Prepare to send your brain reeling with the apparently gravity-defying spots around the property. Balls roll uphill, and you may have to lean well past your toe tips just to stay upright – or so it seems. Mystery Spot tour guides frequently hint at an electromagnetic field that may have roots out of this world.
Scientists beg to differ. The Association for Psychological Science considers the Mystery Spot a visual illusion. It points to tilted floors, intentional slanting of buildings, and the clever designs that make it hard to develop a grounded frame of reference.
However, don’t let scientific information deter you from enjoying the 45-minute tour. Thousands of people per year are wowed and entertained by the anomaly. Just be sure to wear sturdy shoes and comfortable clothes; you’re in for a short hike up a steep hill. Then, suspend disbelief and let the illusion work its magic on your senses. You’ll swear that you defied gravity on this hill!
Stick around for Lunch!
The hike is sure to make you hungry. Think ahead, and bring a picnic lunch. There are benches and tables in the courtyard where you are welcome to sit down and have your meal. However, you don’t have to pack it in. There’s the Snack Shack on site where you can enjoy regular and vegetarian favorites. Examples include the Angus cheeseburger or vegetarian chili.
Visit the Hiking Trail
The Mystery Spot hiking trail is another attraction. After you finished your tour and had some lunch, head up into the beautiful redwood forest. Marvel at the tall trees. The hiking trail is a 30-minute excursion and well-marked for your safety. Just recently, Mystery Spot operators opened up a dahlia garden. Stop by to see the gorgeous blooms.
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