What’s the buzz about Mister Ed?
Mister Ed is a “horse of course” unless he is Mister Ed Gotwalt, founder of Mister Ed’s Elephant Museum & Candy Emporium in Pennsylvania. Mister Ed was a dream come true for my pachyderm and candy loving 12 year-old and he charmed the rest of us as well.
Mister Ed Gotwalt received his first elephant collectible as a wedding present in 1967. His collection now encompasses 12 thousand elephants from around the world. His nickname is “the Barnum of Route 30.”
Elephants in the Museum
Most of the elephants in the museum are miniatures made out of almost every material imaginable. Highlights of the collection include real elephant tusks (taken from a dead elephant), circus memorabilia, Republican campaign buttons, and cutlery from Lana Turner’s estate. My eight year-old especially liked the Babar objects and the 1950s Dumbo seat. Sit down and enjoy a video on the history of the collection and its eccentric founder.
Elephant posters and photographs of Mr. Ed with celebrities decorate the candy shop. The candy room has a nice selection of yummy fudge, 400 varieties of retro candy, Jelly Belly’s and multicolored M&Ms. The shop specializes in roasted peanuts made from a 1903 peanut roaster. Note: Keep your kids away from the very back of the shop, which has adult themed candy and Intercourse, PA, souvenirs.
The opposite side of the store contains a wide selection of elephant gifts, salt and pepper shakers, plus snow globes, nostalgic gifts and Melissa & Doug toys. A truck attached to the building has magnets and the largest Pez collection on the East Coast.
The unexpected surprise of Mister Ed’s was the enchanting garden with its numerous whimsical sculptures, mostly elephants, and elephant benches. The 9 foot Miss Ellie T. Phunt has moving eyes and about three different scripts. Her equally large pal Commander Robert Eli supplies water to the fish pond through his trunk. Kids will love the elephant tire swing and 25 cent elephant ride. Enjoy lunch at one of the picnic tables.
This quirky stop near Gettysburg took us almost two hours to explore. Our only disappointment was that the gift shop did not carry any of the elephant sculptures and ornaments decorating the garden.
Admission: Free but donations accepted for the Adams County SPCA, Cumberland Valley Animal Shelter, and The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee.
Restrooms: Two restrooms and water fountains. No diaper changing facilities.