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Erik & Smisty's Florida Oddventures

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Gatorland is actually not as scary as I thought it would be. It was actually very nice in spots from your pics Erik.


You bring up an interesting point. Gatorland is not nearly as ghetto as they pretend to be. They have lots of (purposely) ridiculous signs and such, but the park itself looks very "professional." They're probably closer to being a proper zoological park than a roadside attraction at this point, honestly.


And now, going back a bit, I can't believe that none of my tens of loyal readers even tried to guess what this was:



Sad Erik is sad.


No more updates 'til somebody gets it.

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Thanks to everyone who responded--even Guy. The correct answer is, in fact, chocolate mango bread--and it is heavenly. Stay tuned next week for more, "What the heck is Erik eating?"



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I was looking for info on Dollywood and found your previous Erik & Smisty adventures. I read the entire thread and this one during a boring few days at work and laughed so much. Thanks for the entertainment and the good info - my sister and I are planning a trip to go to Dollywood and decided to extend our stay to go to some of the other places you featured I can't wait to see the next Oddventure post!

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Ripley's Believe It or Not! Museum in St. Augustine was the first Ripley's "Odditorium," and was selected by Robert Ripley himself as the idea location to display his artifacts. Sadly, his attempts to purchase the building failed. But, one year after his death, his heirs succeeded. Believe it or not!


No, seriously, I don't really care. Anyway....


It should be noted that last year, Misty and I visited Gatlinburg's Believe It or Not! Museum--so much of this experience will necessarily be compared and contrasted to that one. The short version? About half the exhibits here are unique, while the other half are the same or similar to those in Gatlinburg.


Castle Warden (aka, Ripley's) is located adjacent to the downtown area of St. Augustine.


Outside the building is this wonderful chestnut.


The entrance lobby and ticketing. Featuring The Attendant With Super Dry Hands!


A little more backstory on the building.


Run away!!!


A 1/12 replica of the original Ferris Wheel dominates the center of the building.


I think this supposed to be some sort of 'forced perspective' demonstration, but it doesn't really work.


The room of tiny things.


He "put his skills to good use"? Obviously, this is some new definition of the word 'good' that I was not previously aware of.


Typical Ripley's weirdness. And some guy. We'll call him Steve. Though he will not reappear, I feel he does nevertheless deserve a name for his presence here.


Smisty looking way too happy about the cat o' nine tails.


A recreation of a cow that supposedly had six legs, but is shown with only four. Hmmm.


Busts and statues of weird people. Although I feel really judgmental typing that.


NOT a weird person.


The exit. But not really. We're like, midway through here. Ripley's is weird.


These are jade carvings. They're kind of cool, I guess.


Ladies and gentlemen, a mummified cat.


The building is three stories tall. Here we are at the top. Note the tourist taking a photo of his wife, just like in Gatlinburg.


This moose broke into someone's cabin in Alaska while they were eating dinner, got stuck because it couldn't pull its antlers back through, and starved to death. Not explained: What the residents were doing while the moose was starving to death. It takes a while, guys. You live in Alaska. I'm sure you have a gun. Shoot the thing, then board up your window. Idiots.


This monk wanted to continue to be of service to his monastery after he was dead, so they turned him into a candlestick. Gee thanks, fellas.


He really enjoyed killing pigs. Um...believe it or not...?


This one features a small theater where you can watch old episodes of the Ripley's TV show.


Smisty examines some rubber molds of famous peoples' faces, in this random (but classy) exhibit.


If you like spinning tunnels, then St. Augustine's is the Ripley's for you! Sure, Gatlinburg has one--but this one has two!


There's also a pirate exhibit that I'm pretty sure used to be at Ripley's Aquarium in Gatlinburg.


I'm sure there are much better captions for this, but all I can think when I look at it is: "Fry! You have no nose! Your nose is gone! You have no nose on your face!"


Just like in Gatlinburg, you are invited to make funny faces in this mirror...


...only to discover further on that you were being watched by other guests. Wackiness!


Oddly, the exit gift shop is called the Cargo Hold, just like at Ripley's Aquarium. There's not really a nautical theme here, though.


If the inside is about the same, or even slightly inferior to Gatlinburg's--then it must be said that where this one really excels is outside the building.


The coolest thing is this house made from a redwood tree log. (Which, in all actuality, you can see for free, since it's in the parking lot.)


I love small spaces anyway, so this is right up my alley.


Can we live here, Smisty???


Also outside, surrounded by tall shrubbery to protect the delicate eyes of your precious snowflakes, is this full-size replica of The Statue of David. Though I'd seen images of this many times, I really had no concept of just how big the thing is.


Well, I mean, not its thing. The thing itself. The statue. Its thing is obviously very small. Which is odd because the hands and feet are massively oversized. Which just makes it seem that much smaller, even though it's actually huge, relatively speaking.


Um...the end.

Edited by Electerik
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Woah, those are some really weird Ferris Wheel cars, it looks like you have to lay down! And that tree house is awesome! Does it have a kitchen and bathroom or just the bed and tables?


The Ferris wheel is a scale model, so you can't actually ride it. Full-sized, each car would be big enough for 60 people to stand upright in.


The log house definitely has a kitchen. I don't remember a bathroom, but it may simply have been closed off.


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^ That's awesome. Just out of curiosity, which places did we inspire you to go?


I want to go to Dixie Stampede. I also think Hauntings, MagiQuest, and one of the miniature golf courses look fun - just have to choose which golf course!

Edited by bean.zilla
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Great to see a new report Erik. I'd love to see a TR featuring the craziest/crudest t-shirts you can find. That's one of my favorite parts of going to Florida; browsing the shirt shops. And of couse, the sketchier the shop, the crazier/cruder the shirts!


And am I the only one who is irked that every coin-op fortune teller is now generically called Zoltar? IT'S NOT THE REAL ZOLTAR! This is the one and only Zoltar:




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Did you go drink from the legendary Fountain of Youth while you were in St. Augustine?


We didn't. Wanted to check it out, but it was a bit out of the way and had just closed by the time we got to it. It's definitely on the list for the next time we return to the area.

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We went to St. Augustine's Ripley's back in ohhh 1986 I think? Maybe later 80s, but it was somewhere in that timeframe.


I'm so glad it's still there. I remember the 2 story balcony room didn't have that Ferris wheel, it actually had like the world's tallest and shortest men down there and it was creepy looking at them from above for some reason.

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Epcot's International Flower & Garden Festival usually runs from early March through mid-May. And it's a great time to go--because, unlike many special events that can sometimes interfere with a park's normal charm, this one really doesn't detract from Epcot in any way. It's just sort of "extra."


And so is this report. Be warned, this is about flowers. Not Test Track, not "drinking around the world," not the Phoneticians. Flowers. All that stuff will be covered elsewhere in this thread (eventually). But for now, you get this.


Hey, I never promised you a rose garden.


Okay, that was bad.


This year's theme (though, I'm not really sure why it needs one) is "Celebrate the Great Outdoors."


Smisty likes flowers--especially giraffe-shaped ones.


Behold! It's a chrysanthemum!


Those two parking lot characters. (That's a little joke for you west coast Disney fans out there.)


The weirdest walk-around characters ever.


Synergy doesn't always work: Suddenly I want to be at SeaWorld.


Since the Flower Festival plays right into Epcot's normal strengths and weaknesses, some temporary playgrounds get erected right alongside the topiary.


I used up everything I wanted to say on that last caption. These are ostriches.


A-mouse-ican Gothic. I came up with that myself. (Though it could actually be the name of the thing. Who knows?)


Somehow, I doubt that Peter Pan would really much enjoy peas.


And now we head to the World Showcase, where we learn that Bambi is Canadian--which is good, because it means that Americans didn't kill Bambi's mom, those damned Canucks did--and that Thumper is a big giant pervert.


Next up is the United Kingdom, home to alligators, pirates, and effeminate little boys. (Well....)


Between England and France, we find two sets of princes and princesses: Aurora and Phillip from Sleeping Beauty...


...and Cinderella and Prince Charming. (Apparently, that's his actual name.)


France really makes out compared to the other World Showcase countries, as they also have this perfume garden...


...and, like, six characters from Beauty and the Beast.


"Okay...you guys know this isn't my true form, right? It was just kind of a temporary thing."


Morocco gets Aladdin. Eh, close enough.


Since there don't seem to be any Disney movies set in Japan, let's just go with a small banzai display.


The best characters are, of course, American.


Inspired by my posing with Mickey and Minnie, these young ladies decide to give it a try themselves--with disastrous results.


We'll give Italy 'Lady and The Tramp,' since its iconic scene involves spaghetti. That seems good, right?


Germany gets 'Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs.' Which actually does kind of make sense, so we'll let that one go.


Germany also gets some extra little outdoor shops and stuff, 'cause they're cool like that.


China says, "Screw Mulan. We're gonna make an effing flower dragon!" And thus, wins.


Norway dances with who brung 'em, and goes with a troll.


And Mexico, presumably knowing that they'll never beat China's flower dragon, just kind of gives up and puts some potted plants out on the stairway. (Way to play into your laziness stereotype, guys.)


Another set of outdoor shops and such.


Misty really wanted this outdoor shower thingy, but it was quite expensive and we actually don't have an outdoors.


Hey, what's that over there?


Why, it's a fairy garden and butterfly house!


See? A butterfly.


Okay, so apparently Tinker Bell has a whole mythology that she fits into now, with different fairies having different powers and such.


For example, this is...well, I don't know her name, actually. But she's a water fairy, and she has dominion over cheap Home Depot lawn ponds.


I'm not touching this one. I'm gonna be in enough trouble over that whole "lazy Mexicans" bit.


So the new film just gets some cardboard cutouts. Shame, really. I'm not much of a Disney movie buff, but I really like 'The Princess and the Frog.'


Stitch holding things down over by Mission: Space.


On Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, the old Wonders of Life Pavilion hosts "Garden Town." (I'm not sure why only on those three days, though. It's not like Epcot is any less busy on weekdays. But whatever.)


And just what is "Garden Town"? Well, it's kind of like Innoventions for old people.


Not to be confused with "The Making of Me."


There's a small exhibit where you learn how to arrange flowers, Japanese-style.


And lots of outside people trying to sell you stuff. (Just like Innoventions, you see.)


Oh well, at least it was nice to see the inside of 'Wonders of Life' again.


The highlight of the festival: The Epcot Jammin' Gardeners!


There's a surprising amount of Flower & Garden Festival-specific merchandise, like these T-shirts. (Then again, merchandise is what Disney is all about, so I guess I really shouldn't be surprised.)


The backside of the "Celebrate the Great Outdoors" display at the front of the park.


Epcot's International Flower & Garden Festival. It's Epcot, but with flowers!

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