Robert L Ripley was born in 1890. He grew up to become a famous adventurer, cartoonist and reporter. He was also a collector of many interesting and unusual things which he found on his travels. He searched the world for exotic artifacts and unusual or unbelievable stories to feature in his cartoons.
When Ripley died in 1949 his collections were sold at auction The person who brought most the items was John Arthur who, in 1950 opened the very first permanent Ripley’s attraction, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Odditorium in St. Augustine, Florida.
We have visited other Ripley’s attractions around the world and so were quite excited to see the original Odditorium. As with a lot of St. Augustine the building itself (a historical castle) was very picturesque and the many exhibits were spread over three floors. We were free to explore these at our own speed.
We walked into the exhibition downhill along a flat corridor and fell over trying to walk out through a tunnel of lights at the end. Everything in between was unusual to say the least but also highly interesting. There was a good mix of things to look at, things to make you think and things to interact with.
We saw huge matchstick models and teeny paintings on grains of rice. Ancient torture instruments and intricate chinese ornaments. Shrunken heads and coffins in the shape of animals.
We looked at pictures made from all manner of everyday objects and tried to open an impossible gate. We compared our height to the world’s tallest man and became the world’s fattest man. We marvelled at illusions and puzzled over pictures.
Even when we had finished inside, the fun continued as outside in the car park we walked through an ancient log which had been turned into a house.
We had a lot of fun at Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Odditorium and would definitely visit another one in the future!
Taking a child with an ASD to Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Odditorium in St. Augustine?
The Odditorium is spread over three floors with many rooms and sections so close supervision is advised.
We went on a rainy weekday afternoon, it wasn’t too busy.
There is a lot going on and a lot to look at.
If your child likes facts then this is a great place.
The St. Augustine Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Odditorium website is at: http://www.ripleys.com/staugustine/
Another great attraction in St. Augustine is the Pirate and Treasure Museum! (https://autismkidsontour.com/2017/09/11/st-augustine-pirate-and-treasure-mueseum-florida/)