When we were planning our quick trip to Baltimore, visiting the Baltimore Zoo was our main reason for going. Outside of that, I had a short list of other area attractions and general quirky stops to choose from in filling up our weekend. Although the aquarium was on that list, once we found out that there was a Ripley’s Believe It or Not! museum, that took the lead.
Because while the aquarium would have been awesome, I also remembered how much Nick loved visiting the Ripley’s museum down the shore last spring.
And so it was.
This Ripley’s is right in the heart of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, which really means that it is, in theory, a great location, it was also meant it was a bear to try and find parking on a Saturday night. It doesn’t have its own lot, a nearby parking garage was closed, there was a downtown event that night, and it meant that we circled the area “one last time” for about 45 minutes. Just when I was about to throw in the towel (and really stop believing in the luck I usually have when it comes to parking), I found a spot a short distance away (and I wasn’t entirely sure it was a legit space, so we mostly said a quick prayer that the car would be there when we came back out; spoiler alert: it was).
This Ripley’s location is over 13,000 square feet, packed with all the weird, odd, and downright squeamish exhibits you have come to know and expect from them (over 500 exhibits!). Unlike the Atlantic City location, this one is several floors, and also has a 4D movie theater experience, which we loved. It might have even been our favorite part.
Each of the Ripley’s locations have completely different exhibits, which tells you two things: 1) there are a lot of weird oddities to see in the world and 2) each place is a different experience, so it’s not “visited one Ripley’s, visited them all.” The Baltimore location, however, had more in terms of “museum” exhibits, so it was not all ew-gross-type stuff around every corner.
Which pleases this Mom to no end.
That being said, there was still plenty of gross exhibits throughout.
Which pleased my 11-year-old boy to no end.
So everyone was happy.
Near the front counter, they also have a hand wax exhibit, which was way cool. They pour lotion on your hand and you dip it into a vat of hotter-than-Hades wax, and make a mold of your hand. I don’t know, scientifically, how it all works, but I know the lotion acts as some sort of barrier so you don’t feel the heat. You can pose your hand however you want (peace sign, rock on, clenched fist, etc.), and choose the colors. The kids got molds done and it was definitely one of the highlights of our trip.I would caution against doing this in the summer, unless you live in the area or go straight home. Just sayin’.
Guidebooks are available for just a few dollars (perfect souvenir), and discounts are given for AAA members. There are three different sections of the museum (the exhibits, the movie, and the mirror maze), and you can do (and pay for) all three, or a variety of combinations. The place doesn’t close until 11 pm on the weekends, and, well, we definitely closed the place. We were there for several hours, and there was plenty to see and do for all ages, so it’s worth a visit should you find yourself in the area.
Ripley’s Believe It or Not!
301 Light Street
Baltimore, MD 21202
Tomorrow? Children’s book review.