dr pepper museum

11 Things I Learned at the Dr. Pepper Museum

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Being from Waco, you’d think I would visit the Dr. Pepper museum from time. WRONG! I have only been there once my entire life, when I was a kid and I barely remember it. I vaguely remember seeing some old Dr. Pepper cans, some japanese cans, and I remember visiting an old timey soda fountain where they were serving Dr. Pepper floats.

Well seeing as I am creating a blog about my home-town, Waco, Texas that is, I thought it was the PERFECT time to visit the good ol’ Dr. Pepper museum. They have renovated it since the last time I visited and even added a whole new building to the premises. The old original factory building houses the museum and Dr. Pepper artifacts. The new building next door has the soda fountain and gift shop. Read on to learn more about the Dr. Pepper Museum!

Dr Pepper Museum front
Front of the Dr Pepper Museum…it looks so inviting!

Dr. Pepper originated in Waco, Texas

Of all places Dr. Pepper was created in Waco, Texas. It was created by a pharmacist names Charles Alderton. He gave the formula to Wade Morrison who owned Morrison’s Drug Store in Waco. Morrison began selling the drink to his drug store customers. There is a creepy robotic animatronic drug store salesman person when you first walk in the museum. If you push a button he will explain the whole story! Its crazy! He starts moving and talking and goes on and on about how Dr. Pepper was created. I am kicking myself because I forgot to get a picture of him! UGH!

There is a well inside the Dr. Pepper Museum building

The building that the Dr. Pepper museum is in used to be a Dr. Pepper bottling factory. They have an actual Artesian Well inside the building! Take that Chip and Joanna! I bet you never fixed up a house with a well in it! Dr. Pepper was bottled there from 1906 to 1960. The building was the Artesian manufacturing and bottling company. They used to draw water from the well inside, but at some point they stopped using it and started digging out old bottles from the bottom of the well. The discovered a bunch of antique bottle and glass. You can even buy pieces of the glass artifacts in the gift shop. There must have been a lot of it!

Dr Pepper Museum Well
Looking Down the Well

Dr. Pepper used to be called a “Waco”

Before it was called Dr. Pepper, locals called the drink a “Waco”. They would come inside Morrison’s old corner drug store, sit down at the soda fountain bar and ask for a Waco. The drink was concocted in 1885 and many people at the time believed that carbonated drinks had medicinal properties. Morrison renamed the drink Dr. Pepper…how fitting!

Dr. Pepper Syrup Bottles
Dr. Pepper Syrup Bottles

Dr. Pepper is a concoction of 23 flavors

Dr. Pepper is actually a syrup and it is a combination of 23 different flavors! The pharmacist that made it enjoyed coming up with new flavors of soda for kids and adults to try. The actual recipe is locked in a vault somewhere. There are several knock off’s of Dr. Pepper available around here…such as Mr. Pibb, and Dr. Shasta or Dr. B. The names are pretty hilarious. I have had my share of Dr. Pepper and if I had to guess some of the main flavors would be… cherry, brown sugar, vanilla, and some hints of something tangy like lemon and maybe some licorice or something but not the bitter kind of licorice. WHO KNOWS. I am totally stumping myself trying to figure out what is in Dr. Pepper. This pharmacist guy has me stumped!

Dr. Pepper bottles
All those Dr. Pepper bottles

Dr. Pepper supported women’s rights

There are 2 ways Dr. Pepper supported women’s rights. First of all they supported women’s rights to work outside the home. Several advertisements of Dr. Pepper feature women drinking the drink. This was kind of revolutionary at the time since before the whole right to vote and flapper movement, women were stuck at home washing dishes and taking care of babies.

Dr Pepper Advertisement
Vintage Dr. Pepper Ad

Secondly, Dr. Pepper supported women’s working rights during WW2. There are several photos in the museum of women running the Dr. Pepper factory. Well I don’t know if they were actually running the plant, but they were doing the dirty work that’s for sure…

Dr Pepper Girls
Dr Pepper Women Workers WW2

The Dr. Pepper Museum is Haunted!

According to local ghost hunters the Dr. Pepper Museum is a haunted place. There are many things that can attribute to this. First of all, the Dr. Pepper Museum survived the 1953 Waco Tornado that killed 114 people. You can see the scar on the side of the building from where the wall was knocked down. Also, the building is very old. It was built in 1906. I’m no ghost hunter but there were areas of the museum that just felt off. Like uncomfortable and weird. What happened in there? Or was it just the lighting. I don’t know. I wish some of the actual bottling plant areas were still there or were accessible. They had several machines on display, but they were all in a series of a maze of smallish rooms. I wish it was just one big factory floor on display.

dr pepper museum
Dr Pepper Museum Room with Machinery

Godzilla Loves Dr. Pepper

BONUS FACT: It is only fitting that Godzilla loves Dr. Pepper. He is the coolest fire breathing dragon on the planet so why wouldn’t he love Dr. Pepper?

godzilla dr pepper
Godzilla Drinking Dr. Pepper

Dr. Pepper has good graphic design

Being a former art student hasn’t gotten me anywhere in life. But it has given me an eye for good design. And I can tell you right now that Dr Pepper advertisements have excellent graphic design. Its eye catching, its unique, the typography is creative and stands out. I just love it.

dr pepper merch
Vintage Dr Pepper Merch

Dr. Pepper Museum supports free enterprise & Entrepreneurship

W.W. Clements who helped build the Dr. Pepper brand was a hard core entrepreneur who supported free enterprise. Free enterprise is the ability to create a business and watch it succeed or fail without government intervention. I LOVE this about Dr. Pepper. There is a free enterprise institute at the museum where kids can create their own soft drinks and sell them to the public. HOW COOL IS THAT?! Kids need to learn about business and entrepreneurship. I myself am a serial part-time entrepreneur. I have been selling crap on the side since I was 20 when I made a t-shirt company. Sadly none if my grand ideals have taken off, but that doesn’t mean they won’t one of these days!! I’m not giving up W.W. Clements! Don’t you worry!

Dr. Pepper Free Enterprise
Dr. Pepper Free Enterprise Institute

They forgot to mention how unhealthy Dr. Pepper is at the Dr. Pepper Museum…

Uh…no where in the museum did I witness any mention of the fact that soda is TERRIBLY UNHEALTHY FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION! I guess that would “hurt the brand” so they just glossed over the fact that there is an obesity epidemic in America and that high sugar consumption is linked to heart attacks. Not to be a “Debby Downer”, but I personally try my best to stay away from sugary sodas. I only drink sparkling water. It is a good substitute and doesn’t pump liquid high fructose corn syrup into your veins. I literally tried to drink some Dr. Pepper tonight and it just tasted nasty. Once you stop drinking sugary sodas for a while, you will start to be revolted by them, which you should be because…..

HEALTH RANT ALERT! Did you know that a can of Dr. Pepper has 40 grams of sugar?! That is a lot. That is more than your daily recommended amount of sugar. According to the American Heart Institute, the daily recommended amount of sugar for men is 36 grams and for women it is 24 grams. For children it is 16 grams. So stop giving your kids soda, you’re killing them. I need to stop that myself, but my husband thinks “I’m crazy” for not wanting them to have soda.

ALSO, Dr. Pepper has caffeine, which I know everyone adores, but I for one am sensitive to it. I can’t drink too much or I literally go insane. With that being said I am addicted to tea. I try to limit it as much as my will power will let me. But I digress…

dr pepper museum
On the way to the soda fountain at the dr pepper museum

The free soda from the fountain is made how they did it in the olden days

So I allowed myself to drink the free soda you get at the end of the museum tour. Which is pretty cool! You get like a little reward for going to the museum and learning a bunch of stuff about Dr. Pepper. When you get your tickets, they give you a voucher for a free Dr. Pepper from the soda fountain. This isn’t just any old soda fountain like the ones you see at McDonalds. This is the REAL DEAL soda foundation. There is a guy behind there mixing up Dr. Peppers. A virtual Dr. Pepper bar tender.

What he does is AMAZING if you have never seen it before. They put ice in a cup, then they squirt Dr. Pepper syrup into it and then they blast it with carbonated water and Voila! You have a soda! Its pretty much how all soda is made, but they aren’t mixing it with a machine like at restaurants. If any of you have worked at a restaurant you know what I’m talking about….the bags of syrup that are connected to the soda machineā€¦.the carbon gas tanks….YOU KNOW! Is it just me or is it disturbing that we are being fed bags of syrup?

Oh and when I got to the soda fountain I was expecting like a regular sized cup of Dr. Pepper…. No, that is not what you get. There are 4 sizes available. Large, Medium, Small, and FREAKING TINY FOR THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE A FREE SODA VOUCHER. If you want something bigger than the size of a shot glass you have to pay extra. I’m not complaining I just think its funny because I was expecting a regular size cup. LOL.

Conclusion

I am so glad that the City turned the old Dr. Pepper bottling factory into a museum. It really adds some culture and historical context to the City of Waco. Have you been to the Dr. Pepper museum? What did you think? Leave a note in the comments below!

dr pepper museum pin

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