“This is an opportunity to remind people that, while rats were public enemy number one in the 1900s, today, they are more than acceptable as house pets and café guests,” Cole Kourvais, a spokesman for the San Francisco Dungeon, told MONEY.
The San Francisco Dungeon, a tourist attraction where actors retell scary historical events, envisioned the Rat Café as a way to show people that rats are friendly, and not just disease-infested pests — a reputation they got for their role in spreading the bubonic plague in San Francisco in the 20th Century.
And while many street rats do still carry a slew of disease, the rodents that will be scurrying around the café aren’t dangerous, Jourvais said. They come from Rattie Ratz, a non-profit rescue organization for domestic pet rats located in Northern California.
The Rat Café will only be open for a limited time this summer, and tickets to dine with the rodents cost $49.99. Visitors can experience the café on July 1 or July 8 this summer, though more opportunities may be available depending on how popular it is. After dining, customers will have 15 minutes to interact with the surrounding rodents.
The admission cost covers more than just the rat interactions, though. Guests will also have the opportunity to participate in the San Francisco Dungeon’s live-action show, which features rats as well.