Would you like to know how do you measure up against the world’s tallest man, who grew to an incredible 8 feet, 11 inches tall? Perhaps you’d like to examine a Rolls Royce made entirely of matchsticks, or a rock from Mars, maybe a Tibetan bowl made from a human skull or a portrait of Albert Einstein made from toast.
All of those, along with dozens of other weird and (almost) unexplainable oddities are on display in the fascinatingly-strange “The Science of Ripley’s Believe It or Not!” exhibition at Discovery Place Science uptown, which opens Saturday and runs through Sept. 4.
“Robert Ripley was an aspiring artist/cartoonist who worked as a general reporter with the San Francisco Globe in 1918,” said John Corcoran, director Guinness World Records attraction development with Ripley Entertainment. “One particularly slow news day found Ripley assembling a collection of unusual and odd features to showcase in a panel cartoon for the paper, and Ripley’s Believe it or Not was born.”
Today Ripley Entertainment is a multi-media attraction organization based in Orlando, Fla. In 2013, the organization, in collaboration with Canadian-based Science North Museum and Education Center, developed “The Science of Ripley’s Believe it or Not” as a showcase for the underlying science behind how these oddities and seemingly-unnatural occurrences actually happen.
“We want to peek behind the curtain of the quirky, cool Ripley’s stuff and, for example, explain why a two-headed cow is possible,” said Corcoran.
Visitors will experience much more than two-headed cows at this fun, interactive exhibit that will engage and stupefy.
– Weird World Past and Present: Check out geological rock formations, minerals and even an asteroid rock — all the way from Mars. Get a close look at a chip of hardened molten-rock from deep beneath the surface of the Red Planet.
– Perceptions and Illusions: Features optical illusions galore, including a carnival-like clown head display with a large gemstone in his gaping mouth that encourages visitors to “snatch it away.” The illusion is the reflection from a curved mirror – Believe it or Not!
– Cultural Practices: Showcases strange rituals from around the globe, including rings that create the effect of elongated necks on Kayan women of Myanmar.
– Extreme Biology: See some of the world’s largest organisms, like a life-size model of the giant prehistoric snake Titanoboa that children (and adventurous adults) can climb through.
– Gallery of the Unexpected: Explore oddities collected by Ripley and his team featuring strange and inspiring art, and unusual collectables, like a life-sized camel made entirely from toys, a giant portrait of Martin Luther King Jr. made entirely from postage stamps and the world’s tiniest car.
– Jump into Art: Don’t miss this amazing, interactive dark room where you become the center of in-motion artwork using retro-reflectors to project colorful black-light silhouettes onto a giant screen.
“This Ripley’s exhibit humanizes science,” Catherine Horne, president and CEO of Discovery Place Science, said. “Everyone eats toast, but not toast that looks like Einstein. We’re bringing the odd and unusual into the norm – and having a great deal of fun doing that. People coming to the exhibit should be prepared to be amazed and don’t tell the kids this but they are definitely going to learn about science.”
Want to go?
What: The Science of Ripley’s Believe It or Not!
When: Saturday through Sept. 4, 2017
Where: Discovery Place Science, 301 N Tryon St. Charlotte, NC 28202
More information/Tickets: www.discoveryplace.org
Photos: Michael J. Solender