Ripley's LA museum gets a little less macabre

A $3.5 million overhaul meant removing implements of torture and other exhibits that parents said were too gruesome for kids.

By Jonathan Berr May 28, 2013 8:43AM
Ripley's Believe It or Not! Odditorium in New York City (© G. Gershoff/WireImage for PMK/HBH/Getty Images)Ripley's Believe It or Not museum in Hollywood, which for generations has drawn tourists interested in gawking at the strange and macabre, has overhauled its exhibits to make them more family-friendly, according to the Los Angeles Times.

That means torture implements used in the Spanish Inquisition and medieval chastity belts have been put in storage and replaced with items associated with Marilyn Monroe, such as a painting of her made of candy. Consumers like the changes, which are part of a $3.5 million makeover. General manager Andrea Silverman told the paper that attendance has increased by 40% as a result.
 
The reason for the change was simple: Many parents found the museum's exhibits, such as the skeleton of a two-headed baby, too gruesome for their children. Still, the museum has kept items that might freak out some patrons, such as a shrunken head. It's also in the process of acquiring the skeleton of an eight-legged puppy. But these attractions can be seen only by kids older than 6.

Silverman told the Times that for several years, many parents had asked for refunds because of exhibits that were too frightening for young children. That prompted the museum to close for a three-month overhaul of its attractions.

"We really wanted to push this as a family place," she told the paper. "We wiped out the entire museum to bring in an entirely new show."

Parent company Ripley Entertainment operates 31 Believe It Or Not "odditoriums," which typically contain about 350 exhibits. The company also runs five Guinness World Records museums, Louis Tussaud's Waxworks Museums and three aquariums. The businesses sprang from a cartoon created by self-taught artist Robert L. Ripley in 1918 that's still published in 200 newspapers.

Follow Jonathan Berr on Twitter @jdberr.

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54Comments
May 28, 2013 10:12AM
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Too many sisssy's being brought up !!!
May 28, 2013 10:09AM
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This is a big problem in this country. The so called parents now days want their kids growing up thinking it is all a fair land forest. Nobody gets hurt or killed. Everything is peaches and cream. What idiots. What is the kid going to do when he grows up and sees the real world - maybe that is why there are so many murders and suicides - can't handle the truth.
May 28, 2013 10:23AM
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Only in the land of the fruits and nuts. Lets replace the oddities of science and history with candy paintings of celebrities. Arg.

May 28, 2013 10:20AM
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I've been to one up in Canada, went through it, loved it. I see no reason why they need to spend this amount of money on making their exhibits 'family friendly'. That's not what Ripley's is about. It's about the bizarre and odd. Parents shouldn't have the power to take that away. If the kid is scared, then you know the next time you see one of these types of things to NOT GO IN IT. These things are tailored for a specific group of people, and families who can't handle some of the things in them are NOT in this group.
May 28, 2013 10:41AM
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The macabre stuff is why I went there!  As a kid, I had a dark sense of humor and this stuff was cool.

 

Kids are treated too delicately now!  We are raising a generation of scaredy cats!

May 28, 2013 10:10AM
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Ripley's Know For Its Oddities And What Is On Display So Why A Surprise At What Is There  ? Common Sense Would Dictate That You Dont Take Young Children Into The Museum. But Wattage Of Bulbs Are We Really Talking About Here .....
May 28, 2013 11:07AM
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American parents are now under the impression that children should grow up with nothing ever upsetting them. I have a Master's degree in early childhood education, decades of teaching experience., and have raised a child myself. If children are not able to encounter things which disturb them and develop coping mechanisms, they will never learn how to do this as adults. I now work at a college and I see the results of this "Disney-izing" every day. Young adults on their own for the first time without their helicopter parents paving a smooth way for them can't handle anything. I weep for the future.
May 28, 2013 10:21AM
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Ripley's has been around for years and always had exhibits like this. It's what they are known for and what made them famous. Maybe people need to be reminded of history.

We would go to the one in WI. Dells all the time and I loved it and my parents didn't have a problem with my sister and I going in. Most of the exibits are more of a scientific anomaly than anything else.

Instead of getting rid of everything, why not make an entire back room exhibit for the adventurous?

May 28, 2013 10:51AM
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Kids in a bubble. Parents flying helicopters.
May 28, 2013 10:16AM
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During the "Cold War" The Russians had their equivalent, run by the KGB. It was called, "Believe it or Else"
May 28, 2013 10:52AM
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RIP Ripley.  Maybe an entrepreneur can fill the void with a new chain of oddity museums that is based on bizarre facts and turns of nature, without worrying about the propaganda of political correctness.
May 28, 2013 10:58AM
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When did it happen in this Country that people became so delicate?  I hear it all the time when ever something happens, the people involved always say how traumatized they are from the event.

Stats say that 1 in 4 Americans are taking an Anti-Depressant, that's right 1 in 4.  If  that stat is accurate we have a very serious Mental Health problem in this Country.
If you are traumatized by seeing EXHIBITS at Ripley's,  you need to seek help from a Mental Health professional.

And somebody needs to explain the infatuation with Reality shows that are essentially "Bullying" broadcasted to millions everyday and the whole Country is trying to figure out how to stop kids from Bullying .

Gee I dunno, maybe stop watching Reality shows that Exploit people and dehumanize people with Mental Health problems for FUN and ENTERTAINMENT.

One show in particular makes my blood boil......I won't name it but it' s about Pageants.  This is the worst case of child exploitation I have ever seen.

Please stop watching Reality programming, there is nothing REAL about it and it's sick that you find entertainment in watching people getting  voted off the show. 

May 28, 2013 10:29AM
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So, parents what kids to think that a MUSEUM is an episode of Dragontales?  Give me a break.
May 28, 2013 10:38AM
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Kids in other countries know what war is let alone death! You can't protect them for ever. Get over it!
May 28, 2013 10:45AM
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Yes, candy is much more of an attraction than any boring Historical lesson. (Yes, that is sarcasm)
May 28, 2013 10:48AM
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If I want to see celebrity trash, Ill watch the news. Bring them back Ripley's! 
May 28, 2013 11:21AM
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to many parents want to live in a lollipop world
May 28, 2013 10:58AM
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How about a section for adults? Just an idea
May 28, 2013 10:12AM
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Aw heck! I was hoping to see examples of Hannibal's culinary delights such as liver and onions. Hannibal says all of his best friends have good taste!

Har har har!
May 28, 2013 10:45AM
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If you're "fearful" for your kids --leave them outside!
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