A few weeks ago, our family visited the Ripleys Believe it or not exhibition that was at The Grove Mall in Lynnwood Pretoria. This exhibit consists of 15 display areas spread out throughout the mall, and you can take a leisurely walk from one to the other. It was nice to fit in an educational activity during our usual monthly errands at the mall. Of course the fact that the posters advertising it, were plastered all along the road on the way to pretty much every school in the area made it almost mandatory for us to go (Nice move PR guys!) Adding to that Little Mans fascination with all things archaeology, this was not exactly an event we could miss. How often do we see exhibits and events that we’d love to take our kids to, but are really way over the budget? And this for me was likely, one of the best parts, is that there’s no entrance fee! Yep, that’s right…its FREE! So already that was a score!
Ok, so right the entrance near the Pick n Pay, we stumbled across our very first exhibit. A dinosaur skeleton, complete with footsteps, and fossilised eggs! From there onwards it was a whirlwind of exhibits ranging from the strange, the shocking, and the beautiful. There are 15 different pods or exhibition areas, and these range from the worlds of science and illusions, hands-on interactive displays, videos, wax figures, cartoons, photos, rare artefacts.
I have to admit that some of the exhibits I found to be a little too gory (Lizard man and Vampire Lady to name a few…shudder!) but the kids certainly seemed to enjoy it or if not, they were at least very fascinated! As stated on the Ripleys Believe it or not website: “The show delivers the best of Ripley’s while featuring his personal discoveries from South America, Asia and Africa over 80 years ago.”Edward Meyer, Ripley’s VP Exhibits and Archives. There are works of art made from everyday objects, incredible collections, and strange hobbies. One of my favourite exhibits was undoubtedly a large mural of Nelson Mandela made entirely of duct tape, as well as a portrait of a well known celebrity (whos name I’ve forgotten!) made from candle wax.
The children really enjoyed the mirror illusion hallway, as well as a huge figure of the Hulk made entirely from used car parts, as well as the Peels mini-electric car, the space exhibit, and the Little Miss liked the display which housed the tiny ‘dragon slippers’ that Chinese parents traditionally made for their babies, at the Oriental exhibit.
An added bonus was the very clearly marked photo-op booths set out at each exhibit. Needless to say we constantly clicked away. I also particularly enjoyed the fact that unlike other ‘museum’visits where one just looks at the exhibits this was quite wonderfully interactive. Visitors could measure themselves against a height ruler of the world’s tallest man, take a picture ‘inside’ the mouth of a shark, weigh themselves in comparison to the worlds largest man to mention just a few!
Then as we getting ready to leave a good few hours later, we walked into a character dressed up like Mr Ripley himself. He handed the children stickers and a large poster with information about the artefacts ( again for free!) Friends who visited at different times, reported that their children were given colouring in books. This was certainly a visit that kept my Little People entertained and enthralled for weeks after!
This is going to be a year-long, 12-city travelling show and will visit a dozen shopping malls in several provinces. For more info, visit the website at: http://www.ripleys.com/blog/africa If its stopping by at a venue near you, I’d highly recommend a visit!