The Owl Museum, George Town, Penang, Malaysia
“Whatever you do, do not go to the Owl Museum on top of Penang Hill.”
That was one of many negative TripAdvisor reviews of the Owl Museum in Penang, Malaysia, but by no means was it the most harsh.
“A Waste of Time and Money”
“Insanity! Don’t fall for it. If you like just giving money away – I will send you my address.”
“Such a Rip-Off!”
“No real owls inside.””
“It actually made me a headache after going through.”
“Don’t be a twit twoo.”
“This is the most terrible museum I went in my life.”
“Like being at my grandma’s house”
And perhaps the most succinct of all the reviews, “It was Owlful.”
Poor Tony, the owner of the Owl Museum, stopped responded to the reviews once it became clear the haters were hell-bent on their hate.
It ranks number 39 of 41 Penang attractions on TripAdvisor. Only a cemetery and a glass shop fared worse.
But is it really that bad?
Well that depends.
One man’s sow’s ear is another man’s silk purse. (That’s how that saying goes, right?) Experience is relative, but facts are not. A hotel either has free Wi-Fi or it does not. A restaurant either has vegetarian food or it does not. An Owl Museum either has owls, or it does not. Extract the facts from any review, but let you (and only you) be the judge of experience.
Too often we look to strangers for guidance on how to act. (Kinda like what you’re doing right now by reading this.) We should hate this attraction, but love the food at that restaurant. Do this tour, but don’t do that one.
Your tastes (and your taste buds) are your own. I’ve learned from TripAdvisor reviews in the past that some places folks claim to be horrible actually turned out to be pretty swell experiences.
So let’s deal with the facts about the Owl Museum.
First, there are a lot of knick-knacks.
There are no explanations of said knick-knacks.
According to Tony the owner’s own responses on TripAdvisor, a staff member should have provided explanations.
There were no explanations.
There were no actual owls. Living or dead.
The place is small – one main room, a kids’ play area, and a gift shop.
The admission price is 10 Malaysian Ringgit (about $3 USD.)
I like a good quirky museum as much as the next guy. But this one…this one lacks on a number of fronts. It doesn’t possess anywhere near the sheer number of pieces that a place like Spain’s Salt & Pepper Shaker Museum does, and it lacks the creepy-cool curiousness of a place like the Gopher Hole Museum.
If they could turn this…
Into something like this…
Then we’ve got ourselves a museum.
I still use TripAdvisor to find out facts about an attraction, but not to find out if that attraction isn’t great. I like to find that out for myself.
Just like I did with the Owl Museum.