For me when I hear “Ripley’s Believe it or Not” I think of my childhood. I remember Sunday nights, my entire family gathered around the television, waiting to be astonished by one of our favourite shows. An hour of learning meant to surprise and delight with weird factoids and incredible human feats.
So when I was invited to the newest feature at the “Telus World of Science”, I was ecstatic. From January 25 to April 22, 2018 Vancouverites are able to enjoy a live showing of “Ripley’s Believe it or Not” in this travelling hands on experience. The feature “presents the science behind Robert Ripley’s legendary compendium of oddities, anomalies and fantastic feats”. Not only does the showcase highlights the things you can’t believe, but in partnership with Science World, are showing you the science as to why they do and can.
Tonight I was invited to the media opening, an exclusive viewing presented by “Save-On-Foods”. The invite allowed me to be among the first to experience this new feature exhibition with a curated media tour by the Director of “Ripley Entertainment”, John Corcoran. He made the tour, with his enthusiasm and excitement. He easily engaged the kids in our group, and made me wish I was one, to get some of the opportunities they did. Climbing through the belly of a snake, lifting the heavy neck coils once worn around the necks of the Kayan women in Myanmar, and making my their comic magazine. (But more on those later.) We even heard Dr. Scott Sampson speak, the CEO of Science World, who is also a palaeontologist and helped to discover one of the dinosaurs in the exhibit.
You work your way around the exhibition hall, reading the plaques and discovering each anomaly at your leisure. I won’t go through everything, as to not spoil the experience for you. But will highlight what I found notable here, just to get you excited.
For the vlog version, check out my YouTube channel: MaggiMei.
The exhibit greeted you with a life size, to scale recreation of the popular Michael Bay Transformer, “Bumblebee”. He came with the invitation to take plenty of pictures and post them all using the hashtag “WeirdScienceYVR”.
There was a series of mosaic portraits done with everyday items. It was interesting to learn that they would become more clear behind the lens of a camera and/or phone screen. Burnt toast to resemble Albert Einstein. Various gummies and twizzlers made in the image of preteen Justin Bieber
Benjamin Franklin made from monochromatic keyboard keys. Martin Luther King was made out of stamps and Nelson Mandela was crafted from coins.
The weird animal corner includes a four legged chicken and a two headed calf that spun around.
There was a recreation of the world’s largest snake, with the ability the crawl through its hollowed out belly on your hands and knees. You could also examine its “scales up close, what its cross section would look like if you cut into it, and how wide its jaw stretched to show its fangs.
A replica of the world’s tallest man was made animatronic. He nodded at us, tapped the head of his cane, and stood up and sat down at random. When standing, he stood tall beside a measuring stick to best showcase his full height. A great photo opportunity is to stand beside him and see how you measure up. In a glass case beside him, was one of his actual shoes, size 36, the largest recorded.
One of the group’s favourite was the story of Willard Wigan and his micro structures. A man who diet started his careers making the world’s tiniest sculptures by making a house for ants. This was challenge his mother set before him, and then followed up with whether he had made the ants some furniture for their new house. Soon he began challenging himself to build smaller. Working on the tip of pins, in the hole of needles, and even on the hollowed out end of a beard follicle. Works of art so small and so detailed that he uses hair to paint and has been known to accidentally inhale pieces he has been working on for weeks. The exhibit included powerful microscopes so that you could actually appreciate and see them.
As I mentioned earlier, the exhibit included some dinosaur fossils. Specifically the “Kosmoceratops Richardsoni”, a triceratops with an additional frill at the top of its head. It was discovered and named in part by Science World CEO and professional palaeontologist, Dr. Scott Sampson. It is believed that this extra feature offers protection and additional attraction for mating for the Kosmoceratops Richardsoni. And at 1-2 tonnes this dinosaur is not to be messed with.
I appreciated the work that went into the “Silver Ghost” Rolls Royce, made from over a million individual match sticks.
And marvelled at how well the South American shrunken heads held up.
Overall, this was a great experience for all ages. An interactive showcase that draws you in with buttons to be pushed, the games to be played, and even trivia to challenge your family and friends with. You also get to touch things, and climb on and in things for some unique photo opportunities. This is a great way to get families together, with everyone walking away having learned something new that is both fun and interesting. So come by and “Ignite your sense of wonder” at the “The Science of Ripley’s Believe It or Not!”
The Science of Ripley’s Believe It or Not!
Science World at TELUS World of Science
For additional information check out their website. https://www.scienceworld.ca/ripleysftg