There is so much to do in this town, am I right? You can visit Orlando every year and still feel like you’re just scratching the surface. I would even say that as a local resident, I feel the same way. I have lived in the Greater Orlando area for the last 4 years, but on and off for the last 16 years and just last year was the first time I ever took a swan boat ride on Lake Eola! Shocking, I know. But if you’re like me, knocking stuff off your Orlando bucket list makes you happy. So yes, that’s right, I’m about to add another must-do to your list and If you have not had the chance to visit Ripley’s on I-Drive, BELIEVE IT OR NOT, you will have so much fun!
Few fun facts about the man himself, LeRoy Robert Ripley was born in 1890, just a boy who loved to draw. Entirely self-taught he sold his first cartoon to Life Magazine in 1908. He later dazzled his readers with odd, weird, REAL facts in his cartoons. His empire grew from cartoons, to books, to radio, to tv shows, to museums. In 1949, at 59, while Ripley was taping his 13th TV show, he fell unconscious and died 3 days later (Believe it it or not: He died on May 27th, my birthday.). Ripley traveled to 201 countries all within 35 years. Mr. Ripley was just as fascinating and as interesting as his life work and all the oddities in his collection.
My boys did NOT want to leave! This “world” that Ripley brought to life for us, of true facts and real people was just too much fun. Real shrunken heads, standing next to the tallest man and wrangling Dinosaurs, is right up their crazy kid alley. To be honest, right up mine as well. I love books or documentaries about how this world we live in is full of wonders, people and destinations that we could never imagine exist. I think Ripley said it best when he said, “Truth, you know, is really stranger than fiction.”
Think outside of the box when planning your visit as well. Walking through with my kids also gave me the idea of what a fun date night, this would be. I’m sure I missed a few fascinating facts, while herding my cattle, I mean children through the museum. So actually taking a few extra minutes to read about these odd items, would be so interesting. Even though this was my 2nd visit to this particular Ripleys, a 3rd visit and a date night with the World’s Tallest Man doesn’t sound too bad to me.
My fellow art lovers, you will also ooo and ahhh. There are quite a few pieces, that are unique to this Ripley’s and well, to the world. I’ve actually have had the pleasure of seeing the Mona Lisa at the Louvre in Paris. I waited in its Disney-esque lines, worked my way through the crowd till she and I were face to face, and like everyone else in the room, I felt like I could die happy. Ripley’s Orlando has a Mona Lisa too… made of burnt toast that is. No plane tickets necessary (well, if you’re local), no crowds to maneuver through and you can still post your selfie with the Mona Lisa and die happy, well kinda sorta happy. They also have Beyonce made completely out of candy, the Last Supper made of dryer lint and Van Gogh made from nail polish! Seriously, where else can you see this stuff?
There are so many fun photo opps that I know my social media junkies (myself included) will be in Insta-heaven. The boys and I really loved the life size wax statues of some of their most famous “freaks”, located near the end. We had a blast taking pics with them. Ok fine, I had a little more fun, I guess.
The only thing I’m sad I missed were the famous African Fertility Statues. I totally missed this. Read about them after my visit. Not that I should be touching them, since I have plenty of these little people running around but c’mon, how fun would that have been to REALLY scare my husband! So if you’re thinking of starting a family and want a fertility edge, go rub some of these statues at the Ripley’s in Orlando. But don’t delay, I hear they are going on tour to other Ripley’s Museums starting next year! Hope you can make it out soon, there really is so much more to see and if you do by chance rub one of these fertile myrtles, and it works, I would be honored if you named her after me, thanks in advance! 😉
Ps. Don’t miss taking your free photo, like the one below, and email it to yourself during your visit! #ripleys