Believe It or Not: The Ripley’s Odditorium in Atlantic City Is Closing

The Ripley's Believe It or Not! Odditorium is closing its doors.
The Ripley's Believe It or Not! Odditorium is closing its doors. / elPadawan, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

If you’ve yet to get your fill of human anomalies and suspected mermaids, you should act quickly. The Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditorium in Atlantic City, New Jersey, is set to close its doors to the weird and wild on December 31.

According to the Associated Press, the museum-slash-sideshow operates under a franchise agreement with the Ripley’s organization. Since the agreement is expiring, the franchisee is opting to repurpose the building for a new business.

It may be hard to absolve themselves of the Ripley’s brand. Debuting in 1996, the building is known on the boardwalk for its façade, which makes it look like it’s about to topple over as the result of a collision with a globe. Museum manager Chris Connelly told the AP that the peculiar architecture may be incorporated into future plans.

Over the years, visitors to the 12,000-square foot collection have been able to browse items like the world’s smallest car, a lock of George Washington’s hair, and more.

The museum in Atlantic City is one of dozens of Ripley’s museums around the world. The brand was built on the work of cartoonist Robert Ripley, who parlayed a successful comic strip into a multimedia franchise. With researcher Norbert Pearlroth, Ripley dazzled readers with facts and trivia about curiosities.

So consumed was Ripley by the bizarre that his home in Mamaroneck, New York, was brimming with oddities, including a whale penis. His housekeeper once observed that “The most unusual thing in the house is Mr. Ripley.” Fittingly, Tim Burton was slated to direct a Ripley biopic with Jim Carrey in the role circa 2007, but it never came to pass.

[h/t Associated Press]