October 28th, 2016
Having postponed our trip to Savannah a couple of weeks thanks to Hurricane Matthew (Damn Florida & Its Freaking Hurricanes!) we were finally on our way. Well almost…We had a little stop to make first! I’m usually the one to throw out the random “We Should Stop Here” suggestion BUT this time, it was the Bestie who had a place in mind! Imagine my surprise & delight when I got a text from her:
BESTIE: “We should stop at Tony’s Taxidermy!”
ME: “EWWWW…Let’s Do It!”
And there it was, we were on our way!
WELCOME TO TONY’S ARTISTIC TAXIDERMY!
Located in Hawthorne, Florida, Tony’s Taxidermy has been in the business of mounting animals of ALL shapes & sizes since 1968. On the property sits the Taxidermy workshop/museum, a cute little gift shop (of course my favorite part of the experience!) & a building that had formerly been used as a motel but was currently not in service. We pulled into the parking lot & it looked normal enough (I’m assuming as I’ve NO experience with Taxidermy shops!) & after looking around the outside, we found a little gate with a path behind it…It was clearly the way inside.
I THINK WE’RE BEING WATCHED!
We opened the old wooden door slowly & the creak it gave out was nothing short of haunted house quality. We didn’t go in right away, just poked our heads in & stood there blinking while our eyes adjusted to the dim lighting & when they did…OH BOY!
A LION, AN ALLIGATOR & A 3 LEGGED CAT!
Everywhere we turned another pair of eyes were staring! It was quite creepy BUT after speaking with the gentleman that owns the place, the fear of being Texas Chainsaw Massacred & Taxidermied eased a bit. We were introduced to the resident Lion, his tiger buddy, AN alligator, a bear & lots of other animals that looked so alive that it seemed like they could come right over & eat us in 3 bites! Certainly NOT my thing BUT I had to admit that the man did do beautiful work…And we got to meet the property mascot, Snowball the 3 legged cat & hear the story of how he survived being bitten by a rattlesnake (hence his current 3 leg status!).
EVERY SUCCESSFUL ROADSIDE ATTRACTION ENDS IN SHOPPING!
Our mini adventure ended with us going through the cute little shop they called The Wild Daisy, Full of ALL kinds of eclectic trinkets, we spent a bit browsing the shelves before finally selecting the items we felt were “essential” for us to take home. All in all I’d rate Tony’s Artistic a 8 OUT of 10 on the Tacky Roadside Attractions scale (Yep, I totally made that one up!) which to me, means the visit was a success!
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CHECK OUT TONY’S: http://www.tonysartistictaxidermy.com