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"Welcome to Weird"

- Alex

I never knew that were so many strange people in the world! For part of my birthday celebration, the family and I went into New York City and paid a visit to Ripley’s Believe It or Not ‘Odditorium’ in Times Square. I wasn’t sure what to expect but both my eight-year-old brother and I liked it which says a lot! Since we’re eight years apart, it’s often hard to find things that we both enjoy doing.
There are all sorts of bizarre exhibits, anything from the freakishly funny to the gory and gross. There is an emphasis on strange people; short people, tall people, fat people, bearded people, you name it—it was there. Back when Ripley started to collect his material, circuses were pretty much “freak shows”, which displayed deformed and abnormal people as entertainment. Also, there are torture devices, cultural masks, an extensive collection of shrunken heads, part of the Berlin Wall and even a two-headed cow. I found some of the displays to be rather gross—like the shrunken heads—but pretty ‘cool’ at the same time.
Two different activities that are a must are the Laser room, where for $5 you can pretend that you’re in Mission Impossible and try and beat the lasers and the clock, and the Black Hole. Don’t worry, it’s not a real black hole—just a simulator and not for the queasy types. You walk along a metal path but all around you, the room is tumbling, windy, and dark. ‘Believe it or not’, it actually feels like you’re being turned upside down.
Ripley’s is a fun way to spend time with your family while in New York City. It’s located at 234 West 42nd Street between 7th and 8th Ave (right next door to Madame Tussauds wax museum). Hours are from 9 a.m. until 1 a.m. and tickets cost $26.95 for adult admission and $19.95 for children. After Ripley’s, we went to Virgil’s BBQ on West 44th Street at Broadway. I have to say, Virgil’s is one of my favorite eateries in the city. It looks like a real southern home-style restaurant and has a lot of charm. I give these two appetizers and meal the official Alex endorsement: biscuits, cornbread, and pulled pork sandwich. With this simple heart-attack inducing meal, you can’t go wrong. And don’t worry if you get a bit messy, the restaurant provides towels as napkins. For more information go to http://www.virgilsbbq.com/.
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