The carousel’s out, so families searching for fun in the Inner Harbor this summer will be strapped for options — at least until Ripley’s Believe It or Not! (exclamation point mandatory) opens its “odditorium.” Despite eye-rolls from some quarters, the plans have been finalized and the two-story festival of wackiness is set to open its doors this June.
Ripley’s, based in Orlando (somehow not surprising) is known for its ostentatious facades and showcases of strange things. One of those strange things was the gigantic sea serpent sculpture that was planned for the museum’s exterior. Ripley’s wanted the neon-green monster to burst out of the building, its teeth bared, its tentacles coiled around a three-masted ship; city officials balked at the tackiness, and Ripley’s has agreed to tone it down. Now the giant sea serpent will appear to be devouring only the museum’s second story. Much more tasteful.
Inside the museum itself, visitors will find a 3D movie theater (although aren’t all movie theaters showing everything in 3D these days?), a mirror maze, and hundreds of “oddities,” including a mysterious yet-to-be-revealed centerpiece that’s valued at more than $1 million. If you’ve happened into the Ocean City boardwalk building that’s got a shark sticking out of it (also a Ripley’s property), you’ll have some idea of what to expect.
Christopher Schardt, senior general manager of the Harborplace calls this “the biggest change since the grand opening [of Harborplace].” Also anticipated: Bubba Gump shrimp company taking over the former Phillips Seafood spot, a new food court, and a re-opened Johnny Rockets. So, will you be spending your summer at the Inner Harbor?