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Review of Mystery Spot

Mystery Spot
Ranked #5 of 85 things to do in Santa Cruz
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: The Mystery Spot is a gravitational anomaly located in the redwood forests just outside of Santa Cruz, California. It is a circular area of effect around 150 feet or 46 meters in diameter. Within the Mystery Spot you will be stunned as your perceptions of the laws of physics and gravity are questioned. But don't take our word for it, come and decide for yourself! The Mystery Spot was discovered in 1939 by a group of surveyors and opened to the public in 1940. The Mystery Spot has amazed and perplexed hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over the world, and many return time and time again to experience these puzzling variations of gravity, perspective, and height. Some speculate that cones of metal were secretly brought here and buried in our earth as guidance systems for their spacecraft. Some think that it is in fact the spacecraft itself buried deep within the ground. Other theories include carbon dioxide permeating from the earth, a hole in the ozone layer, a magma vortex, the highest dielectric biocosmic radiation known anywhere in the world, and radiesthesia. Whatever the cause is, it remains a mystery.
Useful Information: Activities for older children, Food available for purchase, Bathroom facilities
Reviewed 12 July 2014

This is an ok stop if you don't have anything ells to do... FYI you need a resurvation yes a resurvation to walk up a hill and back down? We arrived at 0830 and were told that without a resurvation we would need to wait until 215pm... Really I think this place needs to figure some other way to get people through without the need for reservations

2  Thank Leithene
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 12 July 2014

This was a bit of fun. Fergus our guide was funny (corney but cute) and kept us all entertained. Lots of walking up steep hills. You get free bumper stickers when you leave. The groups were too close together so we could hear the commentary of the group before and after us sometimes we were unable to hear our own guide above them. Only $6 to get in but parking is $5 so it doubles the price if you are alone. I think that the parking charge is a rip off. Shame because other than that I quite liked it. It is worth the $6 but not the $11 it totals to.

1  Thank TriciaBY
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 July 2014

I loved this, but couldn't stay inside the room very long as it made me dizzy. If you have a hard time walking uphill, do not go here....I had to pull myself up on the rail all the way up! You also cannot bring your stroller, so be prepared to carry little ones.

1  Thank Susaberg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 July 2014

Make sure you make reservations ahead. I suggest going with a group of your friends. It will make it more fun, since they limit the numbers on each tour. It is an inexpensive tour. The drive in isy favorite part- the trees are amazing. They tell you to come early, but no need to be more than what they tell you. There is a a hiking path nearby that takes about an hour. Also make sure to wear tennis shoes. Flip flops make it to difficult to walk on uneven surfaces of the regular tour. Your guides survive on the corny jokes similar to the Jungle Cruise at Disneyland; ours was funny. The tour itself is average. The optical illusions are interesting.

1  Thank LMacDee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 July 2014

So this was one of those cool trips I recalled my parent’s taking us to. Back then, it didn’t have the “fancy sign” it has now, thanks to the many visitors it receives. They redid the front with the addition of a small gift shop and “Snack Shack” of sorts, which carries refreshments and the usual fare. The bathrooms used to be small outhouses, now their larger! They even have a road named after them “Mystery Spot Road.”

In my opinion, this location is considered to be “off the beaten path” from the mainstream highway. Highway 1 or from Highway 17 are the major highways to this place. If this place was located along the “major” though fare it would probably draw larger crowds. Word of mouth, a billboard along the nearby highway, advertisement in “AAA tour books,” to listings on the internet all draw business to this out of the way place, but it is growing.

My kids knew a little about the place from the internet but I think they got more out of actually being there. After paying, we had to wait because there are no “self-guided tours” here and everyone has a tour guide. I don’t recall the name of our guide but he was “friendly and witty.” During stops along our tour he explained the lore surrounding the Mystery Spot and even held demonstrations in which I was dragged out for all to see. “Yeepie!”

There were a total of six adults in our demonstration in which we all stood on a level piece of wood. “I hate being chosen as a volunteer for anything.” Anyway, we all glanced at each other and of course some of us were taller than others, with the smaller adult’s on one end and the taller ones at the other end. The trick came when we switched sides; the smaller people were the same height as the taller people! Remember the board we were standing on was level.

So that’s a little taste of what you can expect here. The illusion here was the “slanted house” directly behind us, which causes “misperceptions” as everyone watching us tried to judge the height of people using the slant of the roof, rather than the true horizon.

Another demonstration, a “V” shaped board sticking out of a house was pointed “slightly” upwards. Our guide poured water into this board and observed as the water was traveling uphill, then over the side of this! Everything they do here appears ordinary as far what you’re seeing but when they place or toss an object it seems to “either” defy gravity or “appears” to defy gravity, which many have tried to solve but can’t. I guess that’s the allure of this place! You’ve seen those optical illusions that magicians do on a smaller scale while this is presented at a much larger scale which involves participation as I found out earlier.

Another demonstration involved a ‘tilted house’ in which two people stood across from each other and discovered that you were standing straight and not tilted as the house was. Sounds goofy but it was a cool illusion. Everyone entering knows that the house is tilted but this affects your visual perceptions of what you’re actually seeing.

Upon entering, your body is tilted and your “perception of being distorted” is greatly magnified when you’re actually standing on a level surface. It’s the part of your brain that determines the horizontal and vertical which are most affected by what your actually seeing. It’s been noted by a couple of professors that the “Visual illusions here have remained a mystery for more than a century.”

The entire tour took roughly an hour but, you “can’t go back and reexamine the attractions because of other tours behind yours and beyond.”

Some Interesting Facts about this place:

• In 1939, this place was discovered by a group of surveyors and opened it to the public in 1940. This Mystery Spot has puzzled thousands of visitors who have come here from all over the world and try and explain the puzzling variations of gravity, perspective, and height.
• This place is only 150 feet in diameter and is considered to be a “Gravitational Anomaly” where your perceptions of laws of physics and gravity will come into question. The laws of gravity and physics do not apply here and a number of illusions support their claims.
• Some have speculated a spaceship is buried below this site while still others believe “cones of metal” were buried to guide alien space craft as a guidance system.


1. Either pack a lunch coming in (no restaurants or shops anywhere) or eat what’s available at their little hut! No mystery here!
2. Bring refreshments to save on money and for the climb up a hill or two.
3. Yaa and I always say, bring some jackets, sweaters because you’re going to need them since you’re up in the mountains.
4. Wear comfortable shoes, not sandals for the climb, because you’re not in Hawaii!
5. On warm days, bring bug spray because it’s still a “mystery” how I came back with bumps all over!
6. If you want to chat by phone, do it before you get here because “chatty Patty” won’t hear you because there is not signal!

4  Thank Holdtheair
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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