Located along Highway 515 just minutes outside of Blue Ridge, it’s truly a weird and wondrous must-see for anyone visiting the North Georgia mountains.
You don’t have to be a diehard believer in Bigfoot encounters to get a kick out of the 4,000-square foot museum, which was clearly a labor of love for owners David and Malinda Bakara.
But The X-Files‘ Fox Mulder would adore their expansive collection, which includes fascinating exhibits featuring all sorts of artfully displayed artifacts, folklore, and memorabilia.
Here’s a look inside the Expedition: Bigfoot Museum (also known as the Sasquatch Museum) and its hundreds of documented Bigfoot encounters, recordings of Bigfoot sounds, and Bigfoot videos that attempt to provide proof that the mythical creatures truly do exist.
EXPEDITION BIGFOOT MUSEUM INFO
• Encompassing some 4,000 square feet, this is the largest Bigfoot Museum in the world.
• The main museum was opened in Cherry Log, GA in 2016, while the Expedition Bigfoot Adventure Outpost opened in downtown Blue Ridge, GA in 2018.
• The Adventure Outpost includes exhibits on other unexplained phenomena, including UFOs and extra-terrestrial beings, sea monsters (including the most famous one in Scotland’s Loch Ness), living dinosaurs, and more.
• Both museums offer an expansive assortment of Bigfoot souvenirs, from t-shirts and stuffed animals to books, videos, and an array of inexpensive tchotchkes.
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HOW TO GET TO THE EXPEDITION BIGFOOT MUSEUM
Directions from Atlanta, GA: Take I-75 North to GA 5 North/I-575 North (following signs for Canton). Go 30.7 miles, to where I-575 turns into GA-5 N/GA-515 E/State Rte 515. Follow Hwy 515 for another 35.1 miles, then make a U-turn and the museum will be on your right.
Directions from Downtown Blue Ridge, GA: Head southwest on E 1st St/Old Hwy 76/Old U.S. 76 towards Church St, approximately 1.3 miles. Turn left onto US-76 W, go 4.1 miles and the museum will be on the right.
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BIGFOOT MUSEUM BACKGROUND
The Expedition Bigfoot Museum was the passion project of David Bakara, who became fascinated by the mythology surrounding the ape-like creature as a 12-year-old boy.
“I became interested in Bigfoot while growing up in South Florida,” Bakara recalls. “I’d hear tales of the Florida ‘Skunk Ape’ on TV news, newspapers, and documentaries.” The Skunk Ape is just one of many regional nicknames for Bigfoot, including Sasquatch, Yeti, and numerous others.
The museum includes an homage to another of Bakara’s early influences, The Legend of Boggy Creek. There’s a loop of the trailer for the 1972 horror docudrama, which follows a Bigfoot-type creature that has purportedly been haunting the area around Fouke, Arkansas since the 1940s.
David had long dreamed of opening a mobile Bigfoot exhibit to take to fairs and festivals. But eventually his collection of artifacts and stories of Sasquatch sightings grew too big to be portable. In 2015, he got the idea to open the Expedition Bigfoot Museum near Blue Ridge.
“Almost every single one of my friends are Bigfoot researchers or witnesses in some capacity,” he acknowledges. “So a full year before opening the museum, we started collecting as many artifacts from our researcher friends as we could, to go with the ones we already had.”
It’s an obsessive research and collection process that remains ongoing, and Bakara claims that he and his wife Malinda hear new stories from witnesses of Bigfoot encounters nearly every day.
You can explore the museum’s exhibits in as little as an hour if you have only a passing interest in the subject.
But you could easily be here a half day if you want to spend time reading the countless Bigfoot news articles, looking at sketches and photos of purported Bigfoot sightings, and examining the many casts of handprints and footprints (not to mention the Sasquatch feces pictured above).
EXPLORING EXPEDITION BIGFOOT
As you enter the museum after paying admission, it’s worth taking the time to start in the small theater room to the right. There you can watch a short 17-minute film that illustrates how common the mythos of this forest-dwelling creature is all around the world.
From the Himalayas (where it’s known as the Yeti or Meh-Teh) to China (Yeran, or Chinese Widman), from Pakistan (Barmanou) to Mexico (El Cuatlacas), countless cultures have their own version of this mysterious creature.
Once you enter the main exhibit area, you’ll see the display above, which includes photos, masks, and reproductions of ancient cave paintings depicting a large ape-like hominid. The high-tech display goes into great detail on the tribal origins of the Sasquatch legend.
One sign reads, “Native American tribes have performed ritual dances in handmade Sasquatch costumes for hundreds of years. Traditionally made from Bear skin and painted ceremonial masks, each tribe had their own name for these creatures.”
Nearby you’ll find a display on the Yeti (commonly known as the Abominable Snowman), part of the history and mythology of the indigienous people of the Himalayas.
The Lepcha people and some pre-Buddhist religions worshipped an ape-like “wild man” as their God of the Hunt. So the legend of Bigfoot in Asia dates back to before the 19th century.
Behind that you can see a large map of Georgia, with pins documenting recent Bigfoot sightings in the state. Green pegs denote first-hand sightings in clear conditions; yellow pegs denote brief glimpses and second-hand accounts; pink pegs indicate frequent visits to the same place.
Even if you believe that these sightings were simply bears, deer, or merely a man in a Bigfoot suit, there’s still an impressive attention to detail in every display in the museum.
It’s all too easy to make fun of people who believe in 9-foot-tall, bipedal, man/ape hybrids who live in the deepest depths of the forest.
But, when even a world-renowned primatologist like Jane Goodall acknowledges that such creatures may exist, it seems cynical not to keep an open mind and consider the possibility.
Bakara and his peers have clearly gone to extraordinary lengths to document their ongiong searching for the Sasquatch.
From displays on what they eat and listening stations to hear recorded grunts and growls to video interviews with people who have had Bigfoot encounters, the museum is remarkably thorough and professional in its approach.
David and Malinda Bakara (whose high-tech ATV, which they used in their Florida investigations, is another prominent display) hope that visitors to the Expedition Bigfoot Museum will come away from the experience with an interest in looking deeper into unexplained phenomena.
As for what he would say to the haters, who think the Bigfoot legend is all a bunch of hooey?