Sure, you could go and buy your eggs at the grocery store like everyone else. Or, you could go and get yourself 18 cage-free eggs from the vending machine at the Glaum Egg Ranch in Aptos, California, a farm that features dancing animatronic chickens. Yep, dancing chickens.
Stick four crisp dollar bills in the slot and out comes a tray of 18 fresh eggs while a chorus of animatronic chickens in seasonal attire sing and dance for you. The costumes change, but no matter the holiday, their song remains the same: a clucking version of Glenn Miller’s “In the Mood,” by Henhouse Five Plus Too (Ray Stevens).
The vending machine is an invention of the late Marvin Glaum, who died in 2004. Marvin’s father started Glaum Egg Ranch back in Nebraska before moving his family to California in the 1940s. He later took over the family business, which he moved from Live Oak to its current spot in Aptos.
An innovator with a mechanical flair, Marvin gained wide recognition in the U.S. egg industry. Marvin and his wife Dorothy Glaum’s four children began helping at the ranch from a young age, gathering eggs and delivering them to neighbors. It was his idea to create the vending machine, though it’s gone through a lot of changes over all these years.
The Atlas Obscura Podcast is a short, daily celebration of all the world’s strange and wondrous places. Check out this episode about Glaum Egg Ranch.
Know Before You Go
Aptos is just south of Santa Cruz on the California coast. Glaum's is on Valencia Road, which is off of Freedom Boulevard, which is off of Route 1 (heading east from the coast). The vending machine is open only when the main bottom gate is open, Monday-Friday 8am-4pm Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. (closed on Sunday). Bring four crisp one-dollar bills. There is no ATM and you can only get change when the attached store (which also has a greater variety of eggs to choose from) is open; their hours are somewhat limited.