We visited Ripley's on our first full day in Orlando, which happened to be the coldest day of the this winter so far in Orlando - it was in the 20's, brrrrrrrrr! When we arrived, the first thing we noticed was that the building is tilted! Really, it looks like it is being swallowed by a sinkhole - yikes!
|This picture is from the Ripley's website, and shows the exterior of the Orlando Ripley's Believe it or Not!|
Parking is free, and there is a shopping center next door with plenty of extra parking spaces if the Ripley's one is full. Once inside the newly-renovated, 10,000 square foot building, we started our self-guided tour with many other folks trying to avoid the cold weather!
Each gallery you visit is full of interesting displays. Depending on how much reading you want to do, you could easily spend a couple of hours looking at every single item! But when you have little ones, you tend to follow at their pace, and my kids were all about looking quickly and moving on to the next thing!
First we learned about Robert Ripley, the founder of Ripley's Believe it or Not. He was an explorer, an adventurer, and cartoonist. He spent much of his life on a quest for unusual and bizarre items to share with his readers through his cartoons. He truly had a passion for finding unique things to share with his readers, and he traveled the globe seeking them out! Eventually he began hosting a television show to showcase his collections. There were many books written detailing his unique finds over the years as well. David loves reading the Ripley's yearbook at the library and here he is next to an entire stack of Ripley's books at the Orlando location - my boy was in book heaven!
|David with a huge stack of Ripley's books!|
Soon after your tour begins, you'll find change machines, so go ahead and cash in some dollar bills for quarters. You'll be glad you did when you enter the next gallery where you can use them in various novelty machines. There are also brain teasers, optical illusions and interactive exhibits to try! David used some of his change to have his fortune told, and he and Katie even tried out the passion throne (against my wishes!!) This section reminded me of a game arcade and it was very exciting for kids.
|David in the Passion Throne - it said he is passionate, which cracked him up!!|
Next up is the tilted room. It will mess with your head, let me tell you! But it's so much fun to walk through this room at an angle, and the kids loved that the balls on the pool table rolled uphill!
|You will feel very off-center while walking through this tilted-sideways room!|
|Believe it or not, she isn't a tourist, she's a wax figure!! And her "hubby" is in the same gallery!|
A few of our favorite things at the Orlando Ripley's Believe it or Not! Odditorium are below:
|This HUGE wall mural of Jimi Hendrix was made with over 8000 playing cards!|
|So amazing to see an actual piece of the Berlin Wall!|
|There are so many exhibits of human oddities, like this man with double pupils. Fascinating stuff for kids & adults!|
|An actual human shrunken head|
Before you exit the exhibit area, you'll discover a trick played on unsuspecting visitors! And then there is the coolest tunnel you can walk through to get out. It feels like you are moving, but it's really a walk-through tunnel that moves around you! If you don't want to try it, you can bypass the tunnel and exit through a hallway. We walked through it more than once, getting dizzier each time! So much FUN!
On the way out of the building make sure to take a look at the gift shop. You'll find the usual wares - t-shirts and more bearing the Ripley's logo, plus lots of toys and fun stuff for the kids. There are items for any budget. My son was intrigued by the insect candy. Yes - lollipops and other candy with worms, scorpions and such! Just what you'd expect at the Believe it or Not! Gift Shop.
We really enjoyed our visit to Ripley's Orlando, and I can honestly say it is a place families would have a blast exploring together for a few hours. As I mentioned before, there is something for everyone!
Ripley's is very easy to find on International Drive. The address is 8201 International Drive Orlando, FL 32819 and their phone number is 407-345-0501. They open every day of the year at 9:30am and the website says they are open til midnight!
Visit the Ripley's Orlando website here. To buy tickets online visit here. Tey have a Valentine's Special coming up with 50% off tickets only on February 14th. If you buy the tickets online, they are good for one year from date of purchase, so you can enjoy the savings and use the tickets later! Check out the details on this Valentine's Special here. You can follow Ripley's Orlando on Twitter here.
I have a coupon we received in a Kids Meal from Wendy's that is good for free admission for up to 3 kids with the purchase of an adult ticket. It's good at any Ripley's attraction through September 30, 2011. I'd like to give this to one of my blog followers! If you are planning a trip before September 30 and will definitely be able to use it, please leave me a comment below and I'll draw a winner on Valentine's Day.
Have you ever visited Ripley's? Which location did you visit, and what did you think of it?
***The kids and I received free admission to Ripley's Orlando in exchange for this review. However, the opinions expressed are completely and totally my own! ***