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When we were looking at things to do in Orlando, we wanted something that was different from theme parks as we knew we'd get bored with them after a couple of days. High up on the most popular attractions in Orlando is Ripley's Believe It or Not Orlando Odditorium. I didn't really know what to expect but on the day we visited, all we really cared about was getting out of the sun and being somewhere cool for at least an hour.
== What is there to see? ==
To start with, I think I should give a bit of information about Robert Ripley, who travelled the world and collected so many oddities along the way. He has 27 different museums in 10 different countries and there is a claim that each is 90% different the all of the others. Having not been to any of the others, I can't say how true this claim is.
Anyway, as soon as you enter the building which looks as though it is half sinking, there are photo opportunities. While we were there, there was a ginormous statue of a really fat man which you can stand behind and pretend is your body. When you go through after paying, things only get even stranger. You will be seeing things you could have never imagined seeing as you walk through the museum. My photos don't seem to be in order so I can't actually remember the order in which we saw things but I'll explain some of the different sections of the museum.
Quite close to the entrance is a large interactive area which is aimed more at children than anyone else. There are pinball games on tablets which were actually great fun. Be warned though, these kept us occupied for ages and it might be hard to get children to step away from them. In this section there are soundboards, mirrors which show you in different shapes and sizes and also a fortune teller. This costs $1 a go which isn't a bad price and it is a little bit of fun.
One of my favourite sections was the strange animals (this is just after the slanted pool table room). This part is really weird. There are animals born with irregular features which you would just never expect to see such as a pig with six toes, a merman and two-headed animals. Although this section was really interesting, it was also a bit gross as some of the deformities are just gross.
As well as strange animals, there is also a whole lot about strange humans. Dotted all over the museum are statues of people who had weird things about them such as the most tattooed and pierced people, someone with massive lips, an Egyptian dwarf who was only 17 inches tall and a guy who can pop his eyes out of his head. I really enjoyed looking at these statues as these things/ people are things that you are never going to see in your day to day life.
Also throughout the museum are different pieces of art. There is one main section for this but there are also pictures dotted all over the place. You can see pictures such as Beyonce made from sweets, Van Gough painted in nail polish and The Mona Lisa made from bits of toast. I love this kind of thing because it shows just how inventive people can be with different items from around the house.
These are just a few of the things that you'll be able to find and see at Ripley's Believe It or Not Orlando Odditorium. While the museum was fun, there was a hell of a lot to read along the way. I can see kids just wanted to walk around it rather than reading all of the information available. I didn't even want to read about everything as that would have taken us hours and hours and I didn't have the energy for that. However, this place is certainly different.
== Address and getting there ==
8201 International Drive
Orlando, Florida 32819
As Ripley's is location on International Drive, it is extremely easy to find and to get to. You can take the I-Ride trolley north and stop at 17 or south and stop at green 9.
Ripley's has free parking.
== Opening times and prices ==
9am until midnight. 365 days a year but call for seasonal closing times.
Adults $19.99 plus tax
Children (4-12) $12.99 plus tax
Online discounts are available and you'll find discount vouchers all over Orlando.
== Facilities ==
Ripley's only has a toilet at the entrance of the attraction and the staff at the desk will advise you to go before you enter as you won't have the chance again until you leave. Ripley's is a pretty big place and can take ages to get around especially with children so I think it could definitely do with having at least one more set of toilets put in half way round.
There is a small gift shop at the end of the attraction but it doesn't really sell much that is interesting or worth the money to be honest. There was absolutely nothing that either me or my husband wanted to purchase. There are pictures and books about Ripley's available and a selection of toys though which the children will probably be interested in. You'll also be able to purchase drinks in the shop at the end.
== Overall ==
I really didn't think that Ripley's was worth the money. We didn't pay full price (we paid about $15 each). Yes, we spent a fair bit of time in here but mainly because it was too hot outside. I don't think I'd visit another branch of Ripley's if I were to go past one again.