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Embrace The Strange At Ripley's Grand Prairie

Ripley's Grand Prairie
601 Palace Parkway, Grand Prairie, TX 75050
Daily 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Ticket office closes at 8 p.m.)
Admission: Adults starting at $16.99; Children starting at $8.99 (Depends on the number of attractions you'd like to see)

I'll never forget that first car ride to Grand Prairie's Palace of Wax. Kicking, whining, teeth gnashing. You get the picture. As you might imagine, at the ages of 4 and 6, my brother and I were none too happy when we found out we'd be spending the day at a "wax museum" instead of Six Flags. Of course, we also didn't know what miracles awaited on the other side of those palace doors.

The attraction, now called Louis Tussaud's Palace of Wax, was rebuilt in 1990 to look like a real palace, and is now part of the chain of Ripley's Odditoriums. There are now four attractions rolled into one. In addition to wax figures of Hollywood stars and historical figures, the Palace of Wax is home to thousands of curiosities and oddities from around the globe through it's Believe It or Not! Odditorium. There's enough to do to keep the whole family engaged (and out of that hot Texas sun) for hours.

Believe It or Not! Odditorium

Featuring artifacts from all over the world ranging from unusual to just plain bizarre, the Odditorium is like no place you'll ever visit. With 11 galleries spread over 10,000 square feet, you'll be treated to strange exhibits, weird interactive displays, and a host of unbelievable illusions as you browse around. Many of the items on display are one-of-a-kind artifacts discovered by the legendary Robert Ripley himself.

Walk through a wind tunnel to experience the fury of Tornado Alley. See the skeletons and preserved remains of mutated animals, like the two-headed cow. Watch videos and other displays of truly super-human (and sometimes super-freaky) feats. And see some of the weirdest bugs from around the world. There are too many amazing displays to describe them all!

Palace of Wax Museum

As it's name suggests, one of the main draws of this attraction is the actual Palace of Wax itself. Eerily lifelike, these figures are based on your favorite movie stars, characters and historical figures. Perhaps one of the most popular displays is the one dedicated to the 9-11 first responders. Or get your picture taken with Rocky, Batman, or your favorite president. There are over 200 detailed figures to see.

Ripley's Enchanted Mirror Maze

Over 100 mirrors back to back over 2,000 square feet make this one of the most challenging fun-house experiences in the area. LED lighting and a quirky soundtrack make it twice as fun. Compete with your family to be the first one out or, since you can go through as many times as you like with your ticket, race against the clock for your fastest time. Palace curators assure me no one's gotten lost permanently (that they know of).

Impossible LaseRace

One of the most exciting parts of any modern heist flick is the scene when the hero gracefully bends and curves to make it through that nasty crisscross of ultra-sensitive lasers to avoid detection. Get your cat burglar on in the Palace of Wax's Impossible LaseRace.

Fortunately, in this maze, the penalty for touching a laser isn't jail time, just real time being added to your clock. Does junior's small stature give him the advantage over dad? Find out as your family competes for the fastest time in this exciting game. I just wish they'd had this when I was a kid.

A Unique Day of Family Fun

I'll never forget the car ride back from the Palace of Wax; Laughing, wiggling, making mom shriek with our creepy-cool toys from the Cargo Hold Store. You know the drill. I still have a couple of the baubles I bought that day. And my parents remember it as well as I. That's one of the best things about it. It's a memorable adventure for everyone in the family.

Heather Barnett is a freelance writer in Fort Worth, Texas. You can read more of her work in the SheKnows.com Dallas City Guide or at www.writinginredink.com.

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