Yes, I’ll admit I am a cheeseball at heart. Even as a dyed in the wool New Yorker I’m not all that sophisticated, and certainly not above having fun in absurdly touristy type places such as Ripley’s Believe It Or Not in NYC.
I love anything on the “weird”, “macabre”, and “strange” side, so having the luck to receive complimentary tickets not too long ago was a terrific opportunity to check out this oddities museum in Times Square. Yes, I know it is “tourist central” and I felt dirty just being in this part of town, but we braved it for this and had a decent little time. Go ahead and shoot me. We all act like tourists now and then on the down-low.
The staff here are very friendly and helpful. Had no problem getting our tickets at the front counter and went inside. There are so many things to see, read about, touch, and learn that are housed in here. Just walking into the entrance you are greeted by artifacts and statues from movies, and other objects and curiosities.
The place is actually quite large and you would not know it from the outside. There are multiple rooms to explore with hidden doors that open when you get near them. Mr. Ripley was an avid explorer and collector of artifacts. Or so the story goes. They are everywhere here along with pictures and information on each posted close by. Many are supposed to be real, but most are props and duplicates, along with some fakery here, but that is part of the kitsch. Just check your common sense at the door and go along for the goofy ride.
My favorite room was the “Medieval Torture Devices” room. Man, people back then had some sick, twisted, and kinky ways of punishment! As a metalhead I was happy to see the “Iron Maiden” ( rock on Bevis! ) but sure would not want to be locked up in one. There are other rooms featuring strange animal oddities, shrunken heads, sports items, Egyptian artifacts, African masks, human oddities, dinosaur bones, gross things, funny things, space mission stuff, and so much more. You can really spend a lot of time here. When we first arrived around 6:30pm it was pretty empty and had a lot of it to ourselves for a while before filling up a bit with more victims, um, tourists.
Walking through the “Black Hole” tunnel to get the to next room was a trip! As you walk through this spinning dark tunnel your mind is tricked into thinking you are falling sideways and have to grab the handrails for support. Had to do that a few times as it was so messed up. I kind of wish I was drunk doing this. Maybe not, as the thought of puking in a public spot like this is pure amateur hour. There was also a laser exhibit where you got to go in and act all Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible. Don’t get hit by the laser beams. More fun for the kids actually.
Of course, as you leave you have to go through the obligatory souvenir shop like at Disney World. This place was worth it for the free tickets, but can be a bit pricey normally at $30 a ticket on-site, or $24 through their website in advance. Open 365 days a year. Now, there’s a good idea for a Valentine’s date! I am sure many people would think this joint is a waste of money, but we had a good time here. For others it might be “meh”. There are always discounted tickets on the internet, and coupons being handed out so if you can snag a few of those it’s an interesting way to kill a few hours.
Just can’t help myself. As a kid at heart I love all this strange and schlocky stuff!
Ripley’s Believe It Or Not – http://www.ripleysnewyork.com/