Ripleys! Believe it… or not!

Did you know the World’s tallest man was 8′ 11″?! Or that there was a two-faced kitten born in Florida last month?

St. Augustine Ripley’s is home to a house hollowed out of ONE Redwood Tree, a Tim Tebow masterpiece out of airsoft bullets and the million dollar man (not Tim Tebow!).  The original Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum in St. Augustine is a museum you’ll never forget!

Ripley’s was part of my childhood.  We frequented the St. Augustine Ripleys in 8th grade, Orlando Ripleys on I Drive, and Key West Ripleys on Duval Street in High School.  {One could plan a Ripleys Road Trip… there are 32 Ripleys Museums!}   Memories of fun tours flooded my mind when I was invited to share their collection with my own children and you!

Opened in 1950 to showcase Ripley’s eccentric collection of strange-but-true oddities, the classics continue to fascinate visitors of all ages.  I remembered the two-headed lamb well and the funhouse mirrors are just as entertaining as ever!  In fact, I appreciate that “skinny mirror” a lot more now that I’m a grown up.

In the decade since I last visited Ripley’s, there have been some changes in the Odditorium.  Don’t worry, the massive Erector Set Ferris Wheel is still there as are the shrunken heads and freaky middle-ages torture devices.  {My sweet 10 year old daughter asked me to walk her straight past all that while our 13 year old son lingered behind reading every plaque.}  Additions like the Tim Tebow out of airsoft bullets keep things fresh.

Another new display Ripleys added is a St Augustine Pirate Museum complete with cannons, a cage and… well, you’ll just have to walk through yourself.  Lauren didn’t like the scary pirates any more than the antique Iron Maiden, so I didn’t snap pictures.

She did like the hands-on section towards the end.  We had the most fun taking “shadow pictures”.  Those goofy moments with my teen and tween are favorite memories of the night!  (The other favorite involved a very, very short ride in a Pedicab but that’s another story for another night.)  We all competed in the Speed Test.  I won!  Go Mom.

One of the biggest, but oft-overlooked, exhibits is an exact, life-size replica of Michelangelo’s David.  Ripley’s displayed this masterpiece in front for all to appreciate… but David’s {ahem} family jewels were not looked upon kindly {or were they?}… the city required the statue to be screened by a hedge so as not to offend.

Did you know Michelangelo was portraying David, the man after God’s own heart?!  David, the shepherd boy.  David who killed Goliath with a slingshot (1 Samuel 17).  I never knew!  All these years I just thought it was a random guy named David who was exceptionally comfortable in his own skin.  But no, you’ll see the slingshot draped over his right shoulder.  You really must walk around the hedge and see this masterpiece.  Whether you’re a paying Ripley’s visitor or not, you’re invited.  Think of it as their gift to the community.

WAIT!  Before you go… don’t miss The Cargo Hold– Ripley’s fun gift shop!  We had a blast in there.
And if you’re spending a few days in St. Augustine, Ripley’s offers combo tickets if you want to include a St. Augustine Sightseeing Train or a Ghost Tour.  Take your time, read and examine all the oddities, and by all means… don’t take yourself too seriously!  You, too, will become a fan!  Believe it…
9:00 – 8:00 pm daily
19 San Marco Avenue St. Augustine, FL 32084
Adults: $14.99 • Children: (6-11): $7.99

** I received complimentary admission to Ripley’s Believe it or Not!  The opinions expressed in this review are my own. **

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