Growing up as a kid, I loved reading books and looking at pictures that showed the extremes of human behavior and life. If someone grew nails so far that they curled around their hands, I had to see a picture. Ditto for pictures of the tallest and shortest men alive, as well as most tattooed and hairiest. It turns out that I wasn’t alone in my fascination and a whole museum exists for people like us — Ripley’s Believe It or Not.
I have wanted to visit Ripley’s Believe it or Not in Times Square for a long time and I recently got the opportunity. As I stepped into the museum’s lobby, I could hear Jack Palance’s voice in my head, but that was quickly drowned out by a Bearded Lady manikin singing today’s top hits. The lobby itself is quite interesting. There’s a manikin of a popular tattooed individual with a forked tongue, and also Bumblebee from Transformers. As I looked around the lobby, I was greeted by what has to be the friendliest group of museum workers in the city. Honestly, every employee that I spoke with throughout the day was incredibly friendly.
Highlights from our visit included a secret room that made me jump a bit when the hidden door opened by itself, a Native American manikin that looks at you when you sit next to him, a fleet of ships that are covered with glass that you can walk across, and, of course, the many legendary “freaks.” (Using that word to describe them is difficult, because I also found it sad that in real life these people were paid to subject themselves to gawking crowds, as their histories detail. But anyway, that’s not what this post is about.)
The day was made even more special by the unveiling of Mezco’s Mez-its Batmobile. Batman rolled up to Ripley’s in a replica of the 1966 Batmobile. I’ve seen a lot of crazy things in NYC over the years and that’s high on the list. Once inside the museum, Batman posed for pictures with fans, as well as with the new line of Mezco toys. He even took a turn watching my son while I ran to the restroom (okay, not really). If you’re going to introduce a new line of superhero toys, that’s the way to do it.
Walking around the museum was a lot of fun for me and my 17 month old son. It was easy to maneuver the stroller around the museum in the early hours before the crowds descended. I assume that when the museum is packed it might be difficult to push around a stroller or a wheel chair. It doesn’t take long to walk through the exhibits, because it isn’t that big. Ripley’s has a cool vibe to it and is clean, which for some reason is a necessity for me to really enjoy a place.
Pros: For people like me that grew up with an interest in the oddities of life, or for kids that are in that phase of life, this is a fun place to visit.
Cons: It’s expensive. At $32.61 for an adult ticket, you better really be interested in Ripley’s. And the museum is small, so it’s not an all-day activity. There are online tickets and coupons, which I would highly suggest. Of course, everything in Times Square is expensive. Just look at the McDonald’s menu on the same block.