Visit: Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum {Atlantic City}

by Cate on April 13, 2012

ripleys - outside
When I was planning last week’s adventures, Google was my friend.  It never lets me down.  My first goal was to find an aquarium for Madeline (more on that next week).  Then I wanted to find something for Nick.  When the Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum popped up on my radar right in Atlantic City, I might have let out a slight cheer.  Ok, I totally did.

He is obsessed with the various Guinness Book of World Records books.  And the Weird Facts books from the folks at National Geographic.  And the Believe It or Not stuff?  ALL OVER IT.  Has been for years.  Every time the Scholastic book order comes in, and the twice-a-year- book fair, he has invariably circled these books and flagged them as must-haves.

We were on our way to Cape May for the day, and I punched a new address into the GPS.

“Why are you using that?  I thought you knew how to get where we’re going,” Nick asked from the back seat.

“I do, but we’re making a slight detour and I don’t know how to get there.”

And then began the barrage of 523 questions that I refused to answer.  He is my has-to-know-what-is-happening-at-all-times kid.  It’s quite exhausting sometimes, really.

“I promise, you will like it.  Just chill.”

The Ripley’s folks have 25 museum locations around the world, not to mention a host of aquariums as well.  The one we were visiting was in Atlantic City.  Although they all have the same basic theme, they all have slightly different looks and items inside.  Nick poured over the $1.99 guidebook (after we left) all the way to Cape May, so trust me when I tell you, I know where all the other locations are, and what they look like from the outside.

The GPS directed me to an empty, free parking lot.  I think in terms of parking lots, that’s totally my favorite kind.  Because it was a weekday and windy, there were very few people around, and that’s just perfect too.

I took pictures of the side of the building from our parking spot.  Nick started to pay attention to what I was taking pictures of.

Ripleys - side shot

“NO WAY!  We’re going THERE?  Oh this is the best Spring Break EVER!  Thank you, Mom, thank you, thank you, thank you.”

Yeah, he was pretty much as happy as I thought he would be.

ripleys - outside ad

ripleys - entrance area

There were a few fun things that capture your attention as you make your way to the front desk to purchase tickets.  A fortune teller (like the one in Tom Hanks’ movie Big), and a water faucet with water coming out of seemingly nowhere, among others.

There is a 30-second heavy sales spiel from the ticket taker.  I ignored most of it, except the part about the guidebook.  I thought for $1.99, it would be a great souvenir for Nick, and to add to our scrapbook.  And when the ticket taker stopped to take a breath, I asked if they give discounts for AAA card members.  They do, fyi.  (As an aside, there are also discount coupons available in the Kids Stuff and Entertainment coupon books)

Once you go inside the main doors, you go at your own pace to explore everything inside.  The weird.  The wonderful.  The creepy.  The gory.  It’s all within the confines of Ripley’s.  Some of it is total legit and authenticated.  Some of it is about myths being busted.

Nick’s class has been studying Paul Revere and George Washington, so it was pretty cool to find a Paul Revere statue made entirely out of matchsticks (the weird), and an authenticated lock of George Washington’s hair.

ripleys - washington's hair

ripley's - washington authentication

Ripleys - matchstick paul revere

ripleys - paul revere signage

ripleys - tourist statues

ripleys - close-up of tourist statue

These statues were super creepy.  Particularly the woman on the right.  I swear I kept going back and looking at her, peering intently.  She looked amazingly, accurately real.  Like creepy real.

Victorian wreaths made out of human hair.  Ick.

An authenticated piece of the Berlin wall.  I loved how the museum had all these solid splices of history, amongst all the weird stuff.

ripleys - piece of berlin wall

ripleys - berlin wall authentication

ripleys - macabre

The story of woman who was so distraught about her husband dying that she carried his head on a platter for months after his death.  Shudder.

ripleys - inside fortune teller

ripleys - zoltar
There were fortune teller machines all over, which was pretty cool.  We got ours told once inside ($1) and once outside ($1).  The Zoltar one was too cool to pass up, and it spits out your fortune, another thing to add to our scrapbook.  We also got our photos taken in the photo booth.  We never pass up a photo booth opp and have a growing collection ($2 well spent).

ripleys - exit tunnel
At the end, there was this tunnel to walk through with this cylinder circling around you.  Kind of like the planks you walk through in a fun house.  It looked like the walkway wasn’t moving, but once we got on it, it felt like it was.  We’re still not completely sure.  But it was a pretty cool experience.  Well, for all except Madeline, who was not having it.

So if you’re heading down the Jersey shore, or need a fun day trip, check out the museum.  Reasonably priced, full of all sorts of unique oddities, and something a little, ok way, out of the norm.

Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum
1441 Boardwalk
Atlantic City, NJ 08401
follow them on Twitter here

This was the kids’ first time in Atlantic City, and they thought that was pretty cool too.  They both commandeered control over my camera, and all the shots below were from them.

Happy weekend!  Both kids have soccer, and we have a 5k on Sunday.  Hope your weekend is just as full of fun activity too.  See you Sunday.  xoxo

AC - Welcome sign

AC - downtown

AC - ballys

AC - signage

AC - marketing

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Joanne April 14, 2012 at 8:09 am

I’ve never been to a Ripley’s so I think I would love all the trivia also. I can just imagine how happy Nick was…that must have been the best part!

Also, love the new header. Don’t think I didn’t notice. The pastels make it feel like spring!


Kris #40 April 16, 2012 at 12:29 am

We went there in March when we were down for the wrestling tournament – the whole family – all 8 of us. Very interesting! Loved the tunnel at the end. The kids – can I call the 4 20-something’s kids? – Steve and Katie did the maze before we went out. They could never rob anything. Too many broken light beams. And I had to have my Zoltar fortune too


paula April 16, 2012 at 8:13 am

My ex and I went to the one in Gatlinburg, TN when I was pregnant with Nick. It was a spur of the moment thing so we had no coupons and didn’t think to ask for a AAA discount. I thought it was expensive for what it was but I probably would have appreciated it more with kids along (and if we didn’t pay full-price!) I’m hoping to get back to the Smoky Mountains with the boys when Dan is a bit older. You should put Smoky Mountains on your bucket list soon. It seems like a long drive but you’re basically on 81 the whole time. It goes by fast (until you hit the tourist traffic right in the area of the national park).


Laura April 18, 2012 at 7:20 pm

My town has one (myrtle beach) and I have been in the Smokey Mnts too. We also have one of their aquariums…which we love esp at Christmas when they have a tree representing every state!


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