AAA/Greg Weekes
AAA Editor Notes
Ripley's Believe It or Not! is at 175 Jefferson St. at Fisherman's Wharf. Like other Ripley's museums, it displays bizarre, oddball and unusual artifacts from around the world that will appeal to just about everyone, including a couple of gross-out exhibits for kids and some historically interesting ones for adults. Beneath the oddities and exotica—and some frightening practices like head shrinking—is a joyful celebration of life and the world around us, and the realization that people the world over follow traditions and ways of living taught to them by their elders.

There's the usual mind-boggling stuff, like a replica of the Golden Gate Bridge made entirely of toothpicks, as well as pop culture nods (artwork depicting Lady Gaga in all her over-the-top glory). Among the interactive elements are a shooting gallery, a “mystery gate” and a human-sized kaleidoscope. The Mirror Maze is summed up by its name; it's like being dropped into the opening credits of a James Bond movie. The Impossible LaseRace is another maze to navigate, but this one’s comprised of a web of green lasers.

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