Ripley's Believe It or Not! | Midwest Living

Ripley's Believe It or Not!

115 Broadway
Wisconsin Dells  Wisconsin  53965
United States
(608) 253-7556
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Midwest Living Review

Lisa Meyers McClintick
With hidden passageways, secret buttons, coffins and shrunken heads, this museum dishes up a funhouse assortment of all things bizarre.

There are more than 30 Ripley’s Believe It or Not! “Odditoriums” around the globe, but the fact that Branson and Wisconsin Dells are the only two Midwest locations clues you in that these are classic tourist traps. The Ripley name is synonymous with gross gimmicks, so it’s no surprise that this museum features the weirdest relics from Robert Ripley’s trips to 198 countries during the early 1900s—among them, Ecuadoran shrunken heads and P.T. Barnum’s half-fish, half-monkey skeleton that he insisted was evidence of mermaids.

Exhibits start with curious art creations. For instance, a dog and a man crafted entirely of junk and a classic painting replicated using only slices of toast. From there, the museum ups the ick factor with tribal neck rings and discs that stretched out lower lips. Main exhibits recall early 1900s jungle adventures with a crashed plane, a swinging rope bridge, and areas dedicated to shark attacks and vampires.

The last hall encourages the hunt for hidden buttons and symbols in theme rooms highlighting the mysteries of Asia, South America and Egypt. Visitors with strong stomachs can stop in the theater to watch video of a man who pops out his eyeballs and a guy who puts a snake up his nose and pulls it out his mouth.

Adult admission is $12.99; kids ages 5 to 11 get in for $10.99.

March 8, 2013

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