Ripley’s Believe It or Not! in Surfers Paradise, Australia, is the newest and the most interactive exhibition of the strange and weird, according to its creators.
Nearly 600 items are featured across two floors, including genuine shrunken heads, the world’s smallest production automobile and an eclectic selection of freak animals. The 9,000 sq ft museum takes advantage of the latest technology to tell Ripley’s story as it has never been told before, throughout 15 galleries of exhibits. New exhibits at the “Odditorium” include a model of New Zealand’s Christchurch Cathedral made from 500,000 wooden matchsticks, da Vinci’s Last Supper made out of burnt toast, an autographed fedora of Michael Jackson and locks of Abraham Lincoln’s hair.
The museum replaces the original Surfers Paradise Believe It or Not!, which opened in 1988 and closed in late 2007 when the building in which it was located was torn down. The new attraction, located just 100ft away on the ground floor of the new 77-story tall Soul Building, has been developed by Juniper Development Group.
“We are excited about our return to Surfers Paradise,” says Jim Pattison Jnr, president of Ripley Entertainment. “We’ve taken technology to a new level at Ripley’s with this museum. There are interactive elements everywhere you look – on the ceilings, on the floor, on the wall.”
*Ripley Entertainment recently took back control of two its most successful Believe It or Not! outlets in the United States. The Odditoriums in Orlando, Florida, and Branson, Missouri, were previously operated on a franchise basis. Gary Daily, who has been with both locations for more than 10 years, will continue to oversee day-to day operations.
Both attractions are built in Ripley’s patented “disaster architecture” style with the Orlando building appearing to be sliding into a sink hole while the Branson building appears to being broken apart by a colossal earthquake.
According to Ripley president Jim Pattison Jnr, acquiring the Orlando Odditorium is especially gratifying because it gives the company an opportunity to build a strong flagship attraction only a few miles from corporate headquarters.