Ripley's Believe It or Not Opens at the Saint Louis Science Center

The iconic Robert Ripley – best known for entertaining and amazing millions with his collection of exotic artifacts and stories of the strange and bizarre – traveled to over two hundred countries during his lifetime in search of the odd, the unusual and the unexplained.  

Ripley catalogued these finds and adventures in his wildly popular Believe it or Not! franchise, which grew to encompass newspaper cartoons, books, radio and TV shows and museums (originally referred to as “Odditoriums”) throughout the world. Though he passed away in 1949, Ripley’s vast Believe It or Not! collection continues to surprise and delight audiences today.

This October, the Saint Louis Science Center will celebrate the life and legacy of Robert Ripley with the opening of a special three-month exhibition featuring some of his most intriguing finds. At The Science of Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, you and your kids will able to see some of Ripley’s legendary oddities and anomalies up close – and explore the real life science that explains the seemingly unbelievable.  

“The exhibition will appeal to visitors of all ages,” says Jackie Mollett, Managing Director of Visitor Services at the Saint Louis Science Center. “They will be engaged in real science experiences by appealing to their natural sense of curiosity, investigation and exploration.”

The Science of Ripley’s Believe It or Not! features six distinct areas, each highlighting a different theme related to Ripley’s life and work: Extreme Biology, The World of Ripley, Weird World, Cultural Practices, Gallery of the Unexpected and Perceptions and Illusions.

The 6,000 square foot, highly interactive exhibition will include experiments, challenges, computer and multimedia experiences and several specimens you can touch. From a portrait of Justin Bieber made entirely out of candy to micro-sculptures so tiny they fit in the eye of a needle, there’s something to fascinate visitors of all ages and interests.

According to Mollett, you will be even able to crawl through a life-size replica of Titanoboa, the largest species of snake to have ever lived. You will hear the snake breathe, and be immersed in the sounds of its digestive system as you learn more about its anatomy.  

Not a fan of snakes? Explore the science behind what makes an animal albino or melanistic (the opposite of albino), find out how congenital birth anomalies occur and gain a better understanding of genetic mutations. See a calf with two heads and “meet” Robert Wadlow, the local man from Alton, IL who grew to a whopping 8 feet 11 inches tall.

“The exhibition encourages visitors to test their perceptions,” says Mollett. “For example, what were once considered ‘freaks of nature’ are now explainable through the science of genetics. Every living thing has genetic mutations, many without any negative impact. ”

Before you leave, be sure to learn more about Mr. Ripley himself too. Browse through decades of his cartoons, read letters from his many fans and hear from the adventurer himself about how he came to be such an avid and curious explorer.

The Science of Ripley’s Believe It or Not! opens October 1, 2015 and runs through January 3, 2016. Admission for Saint Louis Science Center members is $6.25 for adults and $5.25 for children and seniors. For non-members, ticket prices are $12.50 for adults; $10.50 for children and seniors.

Get more information and see a sneak peek of the exhibit at's-Believe-It-Or-Not.

Photos courtesy of the Saint Louis Science Center


Share This Story

Alyssa Chirco is a freelance writer, mother and margarita lover, not necessarily in that order. In addition to writing for STL Parent, she is Contributing Editor at Parenting Squad, and covers parenting, health and lifestyle topics for publications across the country. She recently moved from the suburbs of St. Louis to a small town in rural Jefferson County, where she is learning to survive with no Target or Starbucks in sight. Follow her on Twitter @AlyssaChirco


Our Daily Things to Do email is the easiest way to plan your day.
Follow Us
Want daily ideas of things to do? How about special offers & giveaways? Sign up and we’ll handle the rest.
Things to Do

Preschool Science Series: Storybook STEM at the Saint Louis Science Center
Monday, February 17, 2020
Saturday, February 22, 2020

Storybook STEM is for ages 3 to 5. Each session uses a thought-provoking storybook to engage children in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) challenges. Little engineers will learn science and math concepts as they design and create solutions to problems connected to the story or their everyday lives. 

View this event »
President's Day Camp at the Saint Louis Zoo
Monday, February 17, 2020

Kids can spend President's Day learning about all things color as they relate to wildlife at President's Day Camp at the Saint Louis Zoo: Colorful Critters. Campers will also enjoy animal-related games, crafts and hands-on activities. Advance registration is required.

View this event »
School's Out Camp Create
Monday, February 17, 2020

School's Out Camp Create offers families a fun, creative and enriching option when school is out of session. Single-day camps are led by Artscope's professional teaching artists. Extended care is available until 6 p.m.

View this event »
You Might Also Like...

From Our Sponsors
Popular Stories

Coming Soon: Why the Forest Park Playscape, Opening This Year, Will Be Much More Than a Playground

Since breaking ground on the child-inspired Nature Playscape in Forest Park last summer, Forest Park Forever, the City of St. Louis and their team of partners have been pushing forward on this much-anticipated project at full speed, constructing eight activity areas where your kids will soon splash, climb, build, and learn. Already halfway completed, this one-of-a-kind play area in the heart of the park is destined to grow children’s interest in the natural world around them.

Continue reading »
How to Set Expectations for Your Kids

A couple of years ago a dear friend shared with me some valuable advice: Every morning on the way to school she told her children exactly what she expected of them that day. She found her kids responded very well to this, and almost always rose to the expectation. Instantly I began using this almost everywhere we would go.

Continue reading »
Play Street Museum Brings Kid-Sized Fun to The Streets of St. Charles

With its shops and restaurants, The Streets of St. Charles has become the go-to for grown-ups in the region. But now kids have a place here to call their own at Play Street Museum.

Continue reading »
The Monster Under the Bed Isn't Real, But Kids' Fears Can Be

As much as you tell your kids that the monsters under the bed aren't real, kids' fears can be very real to them, and have a major impact on their lives. Here's how to give your kids the tools they need to understand fear and put things that scare them into perspective. 

Continue reading »
Follow Us