Wowcher Gets Weird @ Ripley’s Believe It or Not!

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Here at Wowcher, we’re fans of the wonderfully weird, the beautifully bizarre and the just plain peculiar. We can’t wait to head down to Somerset to wander through Banksy’s ‘bemusement park’, we’re desperate to try KFC’s new pink burger buns, and hell, we were even on board with green ketchup. So, as a special end of summer treat, I was sent off to Ripley’s Believe It or Not! (courtesy of Buyagift), the world’s largest Ripley’s museum, to marvel at the very best of the world’s wackiest artefacts and interactive exhibits.

Ripley’s Warehouse complete with a life size woolen Ferrari, because what warehouse is complete without a car made out of your jumper?

Ripley’s Warehouse complete with a life size woolen Ferrari. What warehouse is complete without a car made out of your jumper?

You start on the fifth floor (because starting on the first floor is for losers) where you stroll through Ripley’s Warehouse, a cluttered room filled with everything you can possibly imagine. There’s a suit made out of duct tape, a giant wooden chair, a mechanical dinosaur, a life-size woollen Ferrari, and even (what I hope was a replica of) an eight-legged Siamese calf. One thing’s for sure, if Robert Ripley was born half a century later, he’d definitely be featured on an episode of Hoarders.

Old McDonald had a farm EIEIO, and on that farm he had a roaring mechanical dinosaur and an eight-legged Siamese calf…EIEIO.

Old McDonald had a farm EIEIO, and on that farm he had a roaring mechanical dinosaur and an eight-legged Siamese calf…EIEIO.

As well as being a cartoonist, an entrepreneur and quite possibly a hoarder, Robert Ripley was also an amateur anthropologist, and this is pretty evident when you enter the Hall of Exotica. Other than your run-of-the-mill mummified Egyptian hand and a self-deformed Peruvian skull, you can also find some Amazonian shrunken heads and decorated cannibal skulls…

Would you believe me if I told you this was a really tiny person sitting on a normal sized chair?

Would you believe me if I told you this was a really tiny person sitting on a normal sized chair?

Art is also a big feature, but you won’t find any oil paintings or water colour portraits here! What you can find is a portrait of Michael Jackson made entirely out of candy, and one of Whitney Houston made out of the inside of a cassette tape, because, why not? This was something I found myself saying a lot. ‘What’s this? A coffin shaped like a giant eagle? Yeah, why not?’

Giant eagle coffin. Please note, this is how I want to be buried…

Giant eagle coffin. Please note, this is how I want to be buried…

You don’t merely stare at the artefacts at Ripley’s, there’s plenty for you to touch and get involved with, too. Pop your head and torso through a special table that makes it look like you’ve got no legs, enter into a room that makes it look as though you’ve doubled in size and see if you can make it through the Hall of Mirrors without face-planting your mirror image. The visit ends with a laser race, where you’ve got to get through a room of lasers in the fastest time possible, without touching them and setting off the alarm. I dominated this section. I don’t like to brag, but have you ever seen Entrapment? I was basically Catherine Zeta-Jones.

Getting absolutely legless…

Getting absolutely legless…

If I were to list every single thing I saw, we’d be here for a while, and I’ve got to go catch up on Bake Off, so I’ll leave you with this sentiment: the exhibits at Ripley’s were so extraordinary that, at times, I wasn’t sure if Ripley’s was playing fast and loose with the word ‘genuine’, causing me to suffer a bit of an existential crisis mid-way through my visit (‘Is this a real shrunken head? What is real? Am I real?’). But whether I was looking at the real thing or a replica, the story behind it was true, and this reminded me of one thing that no one can dispute: the world we live in is wonderfully weird and filled with extraordinarily exceptional people, and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

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