Somewhere between the thrilling roller coasters of Universal Studio’s Islands of Adventure and the magical encounters at Disneyworld is Orlando’s Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditorium. Though it may not be the most popular or well-known attraction, the museum of curiosities on International Drive celebrated its 25th Anniversary this week. And rather than showcasing the mysterious menagerie of its 16 themed galleries, the establishment is using the special day by giving back to the Orlando community.
The 25th Anniversary, which happened to take place on July 25, was a day dedicated to First Responders. The special event, called “Meet a Hero, Be a Hero” allowed guests to participate in two activities aimed at educating visitors about the work that first responders do and showing them how they can help give back. Children and their parents were able to meet local firefighters and explore a real firetruck in the Ripley’s parking lot. There was also a blood drive where donors were given free admission to the 10,000 square foot Odditorium in exchange for donating their blood and their time.
Ripley’s also used the occasion to raise money for the local charity Mission Blue Inc. The non-profit is dedicated to supporting first responders who are injured in the line of duty. The organization is run entirely by volunteers, and uses a portion of its proceeds to take wounded first responders and their families on outdoor adventures as a way of thanking them for what they do.
Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditorium may be home to the largest collection of odd and unusual items on earth, but it’s also a part of the Orlando community. The peculiar establishment proved that getting involved in community issues is important for every member of the community, even if it comes from the strangest of places.