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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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
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