Visit The Peanuts in Santa Rosa
Visitors to Santa Rosa may be surprised to see the many larger-than-life statues of Snoopy around town, plus statues of Charlie Brown, Woodstock, and Lucy. This is because cartoonist Charles M. Schulz (also known as "Sparky") lived and worked in Santa Rosa from 1969 until his death in 2000, claiming Sonoma County as inspiration for his famous comic strip. In tribute, The City of Santa Rosa enlisted local artists to honor his talent with dozens of character statues, all individually decorated.
So beloved is the gang that the Santa Rosa Airport is officially titled the Charles M. Schulz–Sonoma County Airport (STS). STS has its own bronze Peanuts sculptures, as well as a logo featuring Snoopy in World War I flying ace attire atop his Sopwith Camel (actually his doghouse, but he can dream).
Children love Peanuts, but they also have a forever place in the hearts of adults who grew up following Lucy's unrequited love affair with Schroeder, and Pig Pen's impossible attempts to stay clean. No matter their age, everyone finds fascination at the Charles M. Schulz Museum, which spans 8,000 square feet of whimsy and art, including about 7,000 original cartoons, the largest collection in the world. Exhibitions are constantly changing, focusing on different themes in the Peanuts cartoons.
There's a re-creation of Sparky's studio featuring the artist's very own drawing board, a 100-seat theater that shows animated Peanuts specials, and "Morphing Snoopy," a 43-layer wood piece created by Japanese artist Yoshiteru Otani that follows Snoopy's evolution from a springer-type canine on all four legs, to the upright beagle with a rich fantasy life that we all know and adore today.
An outdoor courtyard beckons with the "kite-eating tree" that is Charlie Brown's nemesis, next to a hedge labyrinth in the shape of Snoopy's head.
For those who have dreamed up their own Snoopy, meanwhile, the museum offers classes in cartooning, animation, character design, and other arts throughout the year for children and adults of all skill levels.
The Minnesota-born Schulz was a huge fan of ice skating, and the Peanuts crew was often seen skating in popular strips. In tribute, Snoopy's Home Ice (just around the corner from the museum) operates year-round with open public skating and skate rental daily, plus lessons and more advanced freestyle sessions. Fans also love broomball, a type of hockey played on a roughened ice surface in tennis shoes with yes, brooms.
To keep everyone energized through the fun, the Warm Puppy Café welcomes with a view of the skaters on the ice plus burgers, sandwiches, salads, hot soups, pizza, coffees, and hot chocolate. This was one of Schultz' favorite places to grab a bite, himself, bringing extra fun in a Snoopy's Special meal of a hot dog or sandwich, chips and drink served in an actual dog dish.
For more ideas, read our two-day itinerary about Snoopy and the Peanuts in Sonoma County.
Written by Sonoma Insider Carey Sweet.