After what seems like five years of summer vacation, you might have done everything in a 20-mile radius. Take the short drive to Ellerbe, where you’ll find fun for kids and history buffs alike at Rankin Museum of American Heritage. It’s home to one of the largest collections of Native American artifacts in the Southeast, a full size bison (and his friends the polar bear and grizzly bear). For big groups, the museum will even fire up its new mining flume.
The museum opened in 1987 when Dr. Pressley R. Rankin, the local Ellerbe doctor and world traveler, had to move his personal collection because it outgrew his home. Or because he was tired of all those bears staring at him while he slept every night.
The museum is also home to giant artifacts: One of the newer collections at the museum is the Andre the Giant exhibit, a homage to the 7-foot, 520-pound wrestler and actor who once called Ellerbe home (you may know him from The Princess Bride). You’ll see his clothing (size 26 boots), wrestling memorabilia, and items like his custom-made rings, bigger than a silver dollar.
The museum is $4 per person, with special pricing for AAA members; but you can get $1 off and students can get in for free by mentioning The Sway. Find it at 131 Church St. and see why TripAdvisor calls it a hidden treasure.
Bonus: Before you go, read more about Andre in this piece from January’s PineStraw Magazine.