Reporting Meghan McCorkell
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A major makeover is nearly complete at the Inner Harbor. Ripley’s Believe It or Not! is officially open and it’s expected to be a major tourist attraction.
Meghan McCorkell has more on the transformation.
The Light Street Pavilion has gotten almost a complete facelift with new restaurants and shops. Tuesday night, its star attraction had its big opening.
A high-wire cable served as the ribbon as Ripley’s Believe It or Not! rolled out the human red carpet for their grand opening at the Inner Harbor.
“We’ve been looking at Baltimore for the past five or six years and just waiting for that perfect opportunity. When this location at Light Street Pavilion opened up, we were like, `Hey, this is it! Let’s jump for it,’” said Tim O’Brien.
Nine galleries of wacky and weird attractions delighted visitors, including Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and her daughter.
Ripley’s is part of the Pavilion’s facelift, which includes Bubba Gump’s and a renovated J. Paul’s.
“I see the other additions to it. It’s wonderful, it’s really wonderful,” said Lillian Mensah.
The Ripley’s opening multiples the good fortune for the Inner Harbor after the Sailabration brought in more tourists than ever.
“The crowds were the largest any of us had ever seen in our history of working at the Inner Harbor,” said Laura Schwartz, Waterfront Partnership.
Those crowds led to a huge boom in business downtown. Schwartz says she hopes Ripley’s does the same.
“People come down, they’ll see Ripley’s, then they’ll go to the Science Center or the Aquarium. They’ll buy ice cream; they’ll go on a boat ride,” Schwartz said.
Ripley’s will be open 365 days a year.
Many businesses around the Inner Harbor logged record-breaking sales during Sailabration weekend.