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Ripleys Beleive it or Not!

Added: Aug 15, 2020
Category: Roadside Attractions

The wackiest of Florida kitsch can be found in the nation's oldest city, St. Augustine. Believe it or not, it is here that Robert Ripley stayed during his trips to Florida. The executive of the company chose to display his eclectic oddities in what would spawn the freakiest museum chain in America - Ripley's Believe It Or Not!

After traveling the world collecting oddities such as a shrunken head and a stuffed cow with two legs protruding from her back, Ripley decided the Moorish Revival residence Castle Warden with its battlements, massive chimneys and rose windows was the ideal place to display his wacky collection.

My husband James and I find the home almost as interesting as its contents, although not as shocking or hilarious. The tramp chair, little more than an iron cage, evokes terror. According to the museum's description, Britons of old would put a homeless person in the metal chair and drag him through the streets. My favorite is a replica of the Tower of London made of matchsticks.

More of Ripley's weird collection can be seen at the Ripley museums in Orlando and Key West. The St. Augustine location is the first and celebrated its 60th anniversary in December 2010.



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