Tag: ripley’s believe it or not

Terrifying Fertility Statues Coming to Baltimore

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Ripley_Fertility_Statues

If you’re trying to get pregnant, this news should cheer you up (or at least make you giggle): A pair of fertility statues famous for mysteriously helping people get pregnant will be making an appearance in Baltimore this summer. Me, I’ll be staying far away.

It’s Final: Ripley’s Odditorium in the Inner Harbor This Summer

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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?

Ripley’s Believe It or Not…Like It or Not

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Come one, come all to the Inner Harbor’s new center for “odd and amazing things!”…almost. Almost because the deal is still in the making to bring Baltimore a Ripley’s Believe It or Not to nestle among recent shiny additions like Bubba Gump Shrimp and H&M Clothing at the waterfront.

Call me a commercial cornball, but my fingers are actually crossed that Ripley’s will team up with General Growth Properties, the landlord of all Harbor attractions, and bring in a quirky/wacky new place to hang.

Aside from shopping and eating by the water, the only family-fun activity that comes to mind is touring the National Aquarium, which is cool, but one visit per year is plenty. Having a Ripley’s in the vicinity is a huge opportunity to keep people coming back. There will always be an endless supply of freaky things flowing in and out. Tim O’Brien, Ripley’s spokesman, told the Baltimore Business Journal they are hoping Ripley’s will pair well with the aquarium, allowing it to break into a market they have yet to conquer. Also to be added to their wishlist of 80 plus RBION locations worldwide are Chicago and Las Vegas, says O’Brien. The franchise is already successful in places like Hollywood, Mexico City, and of course New York.

Bring on the two-headed cows and the shrunken heads! Bring on the family-friendly funkiness; welcome the economic boost. What’s not to smile about here? General Growth Sr. Exec VP Alan Barocas recently said on WBAL-TV, “We’re taking a little bit of a different approach to our leasing effort. It is catering to families… We want to be able to adjust to every part of their lifestyle.” And Barocas is hoping Ripley’s will boost waterfront pavilion occupancy by 90 percent, and told WBAL that if the appearance of empty space in the pavilions makes you think there isn’t room for any more cool attractions, think again. The pavilion was originally designed to make room for future tenants.

Hopefully “i’s” will be dotted and “t’s” will soon be crossed so Ripley’s can join the sequin-clad street performers and sad, sunburned panhandlers among the harbor’s other “odd and amazing things.”

How would you feel about this addition? Believe in it, or not?

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