It was a warm, overcast day with lingering sogginess from the morning rain when I pulled up to the Dr. Pepper Museum in Waco, TX. I climbed out of the car and circled around to the passenger seat to organize my purse when a pair of pink panties caught my eye from the damp green grass. So naturally, I sent a pic to BFF for a laugh, and her response was “man, someone must really love their Dr. Pepper.” And if you love Dr. Pepper and/or historic buildings, the Dr. Pepper Museum is worth a stop for you.
The museum itself has 3 floors. The 1st floor has a gift shop and soda fountain as well as exhibit on the bottling equipment and a glimpse of the old Artesian well. The 2nd floor has various exhibits on old-timey Dr. Pepper advertisement ephemera, rotating exhibits (the ones up during my visit were on the Old West and the history of soda), and a hall of fame for the various CEOs of Dr. Pepper. The 3rd floor is the home of the Free Enterprise Institute and contains a replica of W.W. “Foots” Clement’s office—he is significant because of his involvement as a developer of Dr. Pepper’s brand. A sense of Texas is definitely prevalent throughout the exhibits, especially given the approach of some of the advertisements…
I learned a lot about Dr. Pepper and the soda biz, for sure. Seeing all of the various advertisements was definitely interesting. I had not heard of the “I’m a Pepper” campaign prior to my visit, which you can buy t-shirts with the slogan in the gift store. Do stop by the soda fountain—I ordered a Diet Dr. Pepper, which was made the original mix and definitely more syrupy and flavorful than the DDP I’m accustomed to from the vending machine. Your drink comes in a souvenir cup with the aforementioned slogan, so at 3 bucks, it’s a cheaper way to come home with some “I’m a Pepper” bling.
I had read complaints on Yelp that the Dr. Pepper Museum was not nearly as good at the World of Coca Cola because of the lack of free samples. Which, in my opinion, is incredibly unfair. One, it’s just mean to compare an itty-bitty in Waco, TX to a behemoth in Atlanta, GA. And two, WoCC is a corporate museum, folks. It’s funded entirely by Coke as a method of brand management. And although the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group has been involved in fundraising efforts (any quick Google search will tell you that!), the Dr. Pepper Museum itself is a non-profit. And like most non-profits, Dr. Pepper Museum makes the best of what they have.
For a small museum, I thought the exhibits were well-done and informative as well as being a good way to break up my trip between Dallas and Austin. I definitely recommend it for folks who appreciate older buildings, history, and learning more about a beloved beverage and brand.
If you can’t make it to Waco, TX anytime soon, you can, however, check out the pictures I took here.