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.

More on moneyNOW

May 28, 2013 10:12AM
Too many sisssy's being brought up !!!
May 28, 2013 10:09AM
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
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
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

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
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
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
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
Kids in a bubble. Parents flying helicopters.
May 28, 2013 10:16AM
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
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
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
So, parents what kids to think that a MUSEUM is an episode of Dragontales?  Give me a break.
May 28, 2013 10:38AM
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
Yes, candy is much more of an attraction than any boring Historical lesson. (Yes, that is sarcasm)
May 28, 2013 10:48AM
If I want to see celebrity trash, Ill watch the news. Bring them back Ripley's! 
May 28, 2013 11:21AM
to many parents want to live in a lollipop world
May 28, 2013 10:58AM
How about a section for adults? Just an idea
May 28, 2013 10:45AM
If you're "fearful" for your kids --leave them outside!
May 28, 2013 11:39AM
Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.

Trending NOW

What’s this?


[BRIEFING.COM] S&P futures vs fair value: +7.40. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: +14.50. U.S. equity futures trade modestly higher amid upbeat action overseas. The S&P 500 futures hover seven points above fair value after climbing to highs after the start of the European session. That is somewhat fitting considering Europe, and specifically Scotland, will be in focus this evening with the referendum on independence taking place at this time. Referendum results are not expected until ... More