Where the heck was this floaty grasslandy thing?
February 6, 2011 6:03 AM   Subscribe

What was the location for this poorly remembered Ripley's Believe It Or Not exhibit of a floating grassland I saw as a kid?

At some point in my childhood we took a family vacation, which involved a stop at a Ripley's Believe It Or Not museum... somewhere. Would have been early 90's, maybe Wisconsin, maybe Florida, my memory is pretty vague. In the museum there was a short video presentation of strange-and-exotic-locales which showed, among other things, what appeared to be a floating grassland?

It was filmed in black and white, seemed to be from the early 20th century. A guy, who may have been Robert Ripley himself, was standing on (as best as I can recall) what looked like a ginormous grasslandy waterbed. Like, they were standing in this tall grass and kind of jumping up and down, and the ground itself would ripple. Based on the dress of the indigenous people standing nearby, it seemed to be in a pre-industrial area, though it certainly seems possible that they were asked to appear in traditional garb for filming to look more "exotic." May or may not have actually been an island.

Searching through the Ripley's website and googling "floating" and "island" is coming up with little for me, except for some dude that built an island out of plastic bottles -- this isn't what I'm looking for, so hopefully someone knows what I'm talking about. I know I had a wild imagination as a kid but did I just totally make this up too??
posted by hegemone to Grab Bag (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I believe the term you want is "floating gardens", and I know they were at least a traditional Aztec thing, and a little googling reveals that they seem to have been doing similar things in Asia, so that doesn't necessarily narrow down where the video was set, but you didn't make up that people have done this, anyway!
posted by gracedissolved at 6:11 AM on February 6, 2011

Best answer: Could it have been the Uros, the floating islands of Lake Titicaca?

Google Image search for a plethora of pics of "exotic living on a floating island" life. Right up Ripley's alley.
posted by readery at 6:42 AM on February 6, 2011

While I don't think of Wisconsin and Minnesota as exotic, there are many muskegs or floating bogs there still.

While I'm pretty sure it's not great for the habitat integrity, it was really fun to have an entire class of college kids jumping on one, watching the landscape undulate with our jumps.
posted by ldthomps at 7:05 AM on February 6, 2011

There are floating islands on the Amazon, and also floating gardens in Bangladesh. Both seem to require seasonal flooding and large quantities of water hyacinth.
posted by Lebannen at 7:22 AM on February 6, 2011

Many parts of the Everglades have this phenomenon- it looks like solid ground, but shakes when you step on it or go near the "shoreline"- it's thick carpet of grass.
posted by Hwin at 9:12 AM on February 6, 2011

Response by poster: Well, I can't find an actual clip to watch, but apparently the Ripley's show that aired a few years ago had a segment called "Reed City" (ep. 4.20) based on the floating islands on Titicaca. I'm guessing this might have contained footage of the video I saw, and the pictures I was able to find matched my memory pretty well.

Thanks for the tips everyone!
posted by hegemone at 9:51 AM on February 6, 2011

Possibly the Marsh Arabs?
posted by grar at 4:43 PM on February 6, 2011

« Older Snowshoe me please   |   Why ask to have something notarized? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.