The Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum gives visitors a view of the inner workings of a company whose products became part of the American amusement landscape throughout much of the twentieth century. A network of seven different interconnected structures, the museum occupies the production facilities of the Allan Herschell Company, the carrousel cartel credited with thawing icy relations between humans and horses. Examine exhibits such as the Lockman Collection, an assemblage of 20 different hand-carved creatures that illustrates the stylistic evolution of carrousel animals, and the Wurlitzer Music Roll Shop, showcasing manufacturing equipment and more than 1,600 hand-punched music rolls designed to coax wooden beasts from their lumber slumber. Admission to the museum includes a complimentary ride on one of two on-site carrousels: a 1940s-era aluminum ride equipped with miniature mounts for kids only, and a carrousel sporting 36 adult-sized steeds that dates to 1916, the year it was discovered that horses aren't poisonous.
Louis Tussaud's Waxworks entices curious families and individual seekers with rooms brimming with waxified legends, people, and achievements. Today's Groupon grants admission for two guests into Waxworks' sprawling English Tudor–style building, which houses 16 theme galleries, filled with glossy tableaus of more than 100 true-to-life wax figures crafted by international artists. Past and present celebrities—including film and music stars, politicians, religious figures, and famous heroes and villains—pause from high-stakes staring contests for photo opportunities with passing patrons. Sit on Oprah's couch, snuggle into bed with John Lennon and Yoko Ono, or play host to an unblinking audience of invisible fish.
The Niagara Wax Museum of History has molded 46 exhibits depicting the history of Niagara Falls and the famed individuals who helped shape the area. More than 10,000 square feet of viewing space display the region's history, from the longhouses of Tuscarora Indians to the 21st-century scientists who vowed to reverse the waterfall's flow. Life-size wax figurines and authentic artifacts depict notable historic figures such as Father Louis Hennepin, one of the first people to discover the falls in the 1600s, or Annie Taylor, the first person to survive a trip over the watery summit without the assistance of an antigravity ray. Glance into a recreation of an 1800s general store, or imagine diving over the falls in one of many wooden barrels replicated in the museum's daredevil exhibit.
Ripley?s has enthralled audiences for more than nine decades with its dedication to revealing odd and unexplainable rarities from around the globe. But it all began with one man: Robert Ripley, a wildly successful and eccentric character who rose to fame during the first half of the 20th century. After selling his first cartoon to Life magazine at age 14, he set out on a quick-paced career of drawing sports cartoons for the New York Globe. During a slow day at the office, he sketched nine unusual sporting events and finished his work with a title: ?Believe It or Not!? It became immensely popular, allowing Ripley to travel the world in search of more bizarre stories to put into his comic strips. While visiting relatively unknown areas in locales such as India, China, and the inside of his neighbor?s chimney, he picked up a slew of unbelievable souvenirs that later became fixtures in several of Ripley?s museums, or as they?re affectionately called today, Odditoriums. Ripley?s now encompasses publications, attractions, a television show, and a blog, all of which carry Ripley?s tradition of reporting on the world?s curiosities.
Buffalo History Tours has built a business around bringing history to life with a mix of humor and strong scholarship. Today, founder Joel Dombrowski escorts first-timers through Niagara Falls State Park as a popular tour guide. He draws upon his training in journalism, experience as a standup comedian, and a lifetime obsession with history to share the story of the park with wit and elegance. For more than 10 years, his approach?merging stray historical facts with compelling anecdotes and comical accounts of waterfall lore?has made experiencing the Niagara landscape doubly memorable for his tour companions.
The Aerospace Museum was founded by a group of aviation enthusiasts to preserve Amherst's aviation artifacts. Set in the former terminal of the Niagara Falls Internantional Airport, the museum showcases a variety of planes including a Curtiss JN-4, a P-39 Aerocobra, and a Bell Model 47––the first U.S. commercially licensed helicopter. Patrons can examine these aircraft up close and peruse the documents and records relating to their history.