Temporary Encinitas exhibition offers bouquet of love-themed settings

Melissa McClure takes a bath in one of the interactive displays on exhibit as part of the Museum of What Love Tour in Encinitas.
(Jen Acosta)

“Thank you, mommy,” 3 1/2-year-old Henley Rogers said Friday, Feb. 15, after experiencing what is billed as the inaugural appearance of the Museum of What Love Tour in Encinitas.

What could be better, after all, than an afternoon of chocolate kisses, balloons and photo opps with pink flamingos, cherry blossoms, and a giant panda munching on bamboo leaves.

“She had a blast and it was fun for her mom as well,” said Henley’s mother, Nadine Henley.

Henley drove up from San Diego with her daughter to experience the temporary exhibition, which opened Valentine’s Day, in a sprawling storefront at 220 N. El Camino Real.

“It’s honestly worth it,” Nadine Henley said. “I’m really glad we came and I would come back. It was actually the best pop-up museum I’ve been to and I’ve been to a few. I’d give it a 10 out of 10.”

Pop-up museums consist of temporary installations featuring displays that are like the pop-out art in greeting cards. The installations, however, are interactive and life-sized, rather than miniatures. The flamingos and panda, of course, are statues as are the cherry trees and 6-foot-high lipstick tubes.

The Encinitas museum features more than 20 settings designed around popular images of love and happiness.

The booths, which are meant to appeal to all age levels, include scenes such as the “Hay baby, I love you,” barn theme, and the “Love Nest,” featuring a bathing pool, which instead of water, is full of red, plastic baseball-sized balls.

“Every room has a focus on touch, feel and smell and has opportunities for taking pictures,” museum creator Ann Delaney said. “It’s all about kindness and love, and spreading happiness.”

With regard to a wedding ceremony set-up, Delaney said, “People can pretend they’re getting married, fake out their friends or practice saying ‘I do,’ with their fiancés (or fiancées).”

The exhibit is an outgrowth of the business Delaney and her husband, Kyle Hill, have run over the last decade. They specialize in crafting background decor for special events, especially weddings and wedding receptions.

“I’m taking the backdrops I’ve created for people and putting them into one museum,” said Delaney, who lives with Hill, and their 9-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter, in La Costa.

Promoted over Internet platforms, the exhibit was sold out from its opening day through last weekend, Delaney said. More than 2,000 tickets were purchased, she said.

“I feel humble and happy,” she said. “To be able to sell out on our first weekend is amazing.”

The venue is scheduled to stay open through March 15. Delaney hopes she will be able to extend the museum’s stay in Encinitas for another month.

After that, she would like to find sites for the tour in Orange County and other locales.

Information on the Museum of What Love Tour is available at

Tickets are $24 per adult, $15 for 4-year-olds to 12-year-olds, and free for children 3 and under. Discounts are available for military service members.