Believe it Or Not, There’s a Ripley’s Odditorium in Orlando, Florida
You’ve probably seen the newspaper feature “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” but you may not know that Robert Ripley toured the world collecting oddities, reporting on them and eventually set up 27 museums spread out in ten different countries. One of these museums is in Orlando, and it is well worth a visit if you have a taste for the odd and the unusual.
The museum is located along Orlando’s famous International Drive in a building that appears to be sinking into the ground. According to the owners of the museum, the building is sinking into one of Florida’s infamous sink holes.
You can visit the museum any day of the year and take a self-guided tour through all the strange artifacts and exhibits. The Ripley website says that it takes about two hours to see everything, but if you are exceptionally curious and want to read all the explanations for the items on display then it can take a bit longer.
If you visit the Odditorium’s website you can watch a video of Ripley’s “ghost” inviting you to see all the “unbelievable things” he collected. He explains that in his travels to hundreds of countries he met “women with necks 15 inches long” and a man with a “horn growing out of the top his head” and that he collected many artifacts and works of art which are on display in the museum. He bids you to come in and “ask yourself whether you believe it or not.”
So, what will you find there?
When you come in you will find a life-size horse, but it is only a statue of a horse, made completely from horseshoes! If you have your camera you will want to start clicking at all the strange exhibits, so make sure your equipment is ready. If you have a film camera bring a good supply and if you have digital equipment make sure your memory and batteries are ready for a lot of shots.
On the walls you will find many photos, pictures and artifacts and the building is divided into thematic sections. A “dinosaur” section has life-size Komodo dragon fossil and a video that explains how this creature lives.
There are sections with artifacts from Africa, Egypt, China and Japan, a strange creatures section and a ghoulish vampire/ horror area where you can, among other things, learn everything you would want to know about head hunters. This section may not be so appropriate for younger kids.
The “artwork” in this museum always tends to the unusual and yes, unbelievable side. For example there is a picture of Mona Lisa which is not an oil painting, but a collage made out of various shades of toasted bread and you can find an Abraham Lincoln collage composed of pennies of various shades.
Besides your photos of the oddities, you can also bring home books and souvenirs from the museum’s gift shop.
Unlike the many of the other tourist attractions in Orlando there is no café in this facility, and there are not even any toilets! So if you are bringing youngsters make sure that you prepare in advance.
Here is the address and contact information: 8201 International Drive
Orlando, Florida 32819, general information: (407) 363-4418
The current cost of tickets is $18.95 plus tax for adults and $11.95 plus tax for children 4-12.