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Our Strange Day at Ripley's Believe It or Not and Its Tantalizing Times Square Odditorium

by Rich and Laura Lynch

On March 9, 2012 we had a strange day in New York City. As we walked down 42nd Street we stumbled upon Ripley's Believe It or Not! Times Square Odditorium. - Our Strange Day at Ripley's Believe It or Not!

What is an Odditorium we wondered? We soon found out that it is a unique museum. A place packed with a global array of beguiling and bizarre things. Whose idea was this we pondered and discovered it was the brainchild of Robert Ripley.

Robert Ripley was an adventurer, cartoonist, collector, illustrator and reporter. Robert traveled the world in search of the odd and unusual. Ripley compiled his findings into a vast collection that he called "Believe It or Not!". The first "Believe It or Not!" museum opened in Florida in the 1950's and has expanded into a one of a kind franchise.

In June of 2007, Ripley's Believe It or Not! Times Square Odditorium opened at 234 West 42nd Street. The 20 plus galleries are filled with an assortment of weird and whimsical items from the universe. The collection at NYC includes a piece of the Berlin Wall, a 3,197 lb. meteorite, real shrunken heads and many more oddities.

The two story facility is open 365 days a year and has a laser maze, an Odd Shop and space for events. The Odditorium has hosted a wide range of gatherings including a competitive eating contest that took place the same day as our visit., an online social dieting game that gives players the opportunity to compete to lose weight, hosted several members of All Pro Eating to pull a dietary 180 and participate in a dietbet. This out-of-ordinary weight-loss challenge kicked-off with a "last supper" competitive eating contest of gigantic New York style pizza slices that was followed immediately by a weigh-in at venue. - Our Strange Day at Ripley's Believe It or Not!
Two of the scarier exhibits - an Iron Maiden and a shrunken head!

Players who reach their goal of dropping four percent of their starting weight in four weeks will split a $1,000 pot. Trained to do nothing but consume everything in front of them as quickly as possible, these men-turned-eating-machines will think twice before competing over the next month in wing-offs, hot dog races, taco triathlons, and milkshake marathons.

There is an extensive assortment of things to see and interact with at The Odditorium. We saw examples of the tallest and smallest people in the world along with those who were rather strange. Displays of unusual animals were represented as was artistic items including a mosaic of British Columbia that was made out of 70,000 stamps.

We are always in search of music related things. At Ripley's Believe It or Not! we saw a drum made from scull caps. We played with an interactive orchestra that had images of instruments in front of a mirror and as you moved your hands over the instruments they would respond with a sound. It was quite entertaining to watch and hear ourselves conduct an orchestra.

But for us, the funniest interactive piece was the Black Hole. It was a walkway that was surrounded by a black back drop of colored lights. The spinning backdrop gave you the illusion that the walkway was moving. We must have done this dizzying display a half dozen times. Another highlight was a Buddha made out of a shredded money and, yes, we most certainly rubbed that belly for good luck.

The staff at Ripley's was friendly and enthusiastic. We were told that the New York museum is currently the second largest of the branded attractions with the biggest housed in London. It is clear that Robert Ripley lived an unbelievable life and thanks to his worldwide collections many can be educated and entertained by his legacy. - Our Strange Day at Ripley's Believe It or Not!
Laura conducts the virtual orchestra; the world-famous Ripley cartoons;
a Buddha composed of shredded money; Lincoln made from pennies; and the dizzying Black Hole attraction.

Related Links: For more information on RIPLEY'S BELEIVE IT OR NOT! and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links -

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