According to ripleys.com, the Ripley’s family of attractions consists of over 90 aquariums, museums, theaters and more worldwide. I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing various Ripley attractions throughout Tennessee and Florida. Most recently, I visited the Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Odditorium in Orlando, Florida. The Odditorium has been home to an extensive collection of some of Ripley’s greatest discoveries and legends, displayed across 10,000 square feet of gallery space, since 1989.
Before you even enter the building, take note of the very first of many “oddities” – the building itself! Keeping true to the area, the building looks as if it is slowly starting to fall into a sinkhole! Rest assured, no matter how things appear, you’ll find stable footing inside… along with even floors – well, most of the time, anyway!
You won’t ride roller coasters, or even carousels at Ripley’s Odditorium, but what you will find is education, wonder, amazements, and hands-on experience. The exhibits are well organized, and laid out categorically in 16 galleries. Items and feature exhibits may vary from time to time, as some are rotational, traveling displays. Here’s just a small sampling of the unbelievable sights that await you on your visit… (as always, click on any image to enlarge).
Some galleries within the Odditorium contain interactive items that allow for scientific discovery or the trickery of optical illusions. Don’t neglect the wall hangings, as the decor is much more than just decorative! Clever factoids and amazing works of painstaking art can be found all around you. (These include portraits made from items such as toast, dryer lint and a phone book!)
Then, there’s also Marilyn Monroe, made out of butterfly wings. Hmmm…
Sometimes, the artwork may even be the entire wall! Check out Jimi Hendrix, made from standard playing cards!
Speaking of walls… recognize this one?
Believe it or not, you can learn a lot about history and culture as you explore the Odditorium! Fascinating displays tell the stories of some of the world’s most unique and notable inhabitants, while immersing you in the traditions and rituals of foreign peoples, both past and present.
And for those who appreciate the dark side of history, venture through ancient tribal practices and medieval torture tactics during a chilling and stunning glimpse across space and time.
If the truly bizarre is more your speed, you’re only beginning to see the Odditorium’s finest! Many of Ripley’s most mind-blowing discoveries have come directly from natural circumstance. A unique, almost rural themed gallery, features some of the most unbelievable animal mutations ever. This is also home to the original “chicken with its head cut off”, Miracle Mike…
One of my favorite themes scattered throughout the Odditorium are the giants and the minis. What on Earth do I mean by that? Perhaps this is better seen than read about.
Yeah, get your chuckles at the short girl… but, how would you measure up to the world’s tallest man?
By the way, not all of the artwork is hanging. Imagine the time and effort that must have gone into a creation like “button man”…
And…Not all statues are masterpieces of artistic vision. Some of the statues have a higher, more mystical purpose. Regardless of what the sign instructs, this is as close as I was willing to get… just in case!
Remember that assurance I gave earlier of even floors… um, most of the time? Well, to be completely fair, I do have one gallery to warn you of. When you find the pool table, place the cue ball on the far end of it. There’s something special about this room…. or is it all in your mind? Watch your step (and the walls, and the ceiling….)
Ripley’s Odditorium is open 365 days a year, from 9am – midnight. Group and online purchase discounts are available, but standard admission fees are approximately $20 per adult. Save a few dollars when purchasing online, or check area guidebooks for coupons. Located in the heart of the International Drive entertainment district, dedicated free parking is a tremendous perk! Consider Ripley’s the next time you’re looking for unique amusement, away from the summer heat or showers. The self-guided nature of this attraction allows for an “at-your-own-pace” tour, meaning your experience can take as much time as you want or need. Photography is encouraged, and make sure to look into the Ripley’s app, designed to accompany and enhance your Odditorium experience.
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