Gay Dolphin Gift Cove
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
The Gay Dolphin Gift Cove is a beachside souvenir emporium stuffed with over 70,000 items. Myrtle Beach has many other gift shops, but the Gay Dolphin, which first opened in 1946 (when "gay" simply meant "happy" to the owners when devising their whimsical name), claims to be the "nation's largest." A trio of dolphins balance balls on a vintage sign above Ocean Ave.
We popped in to climb the observation tower, but found out it hadn't been open since 2006. Still, it's a great store, with thematic "coves" of every tacky work of shell craft and beach memento you can imagine. There's a nice (predator?) section of baby sharks floating in keepsake jars, intermixed with gator heads and gag statuettes.
A 16+ ft. long shark is mounted to the ceiling by chains, dangling over a selection of bead and shell necklaces. A hand-lettered sign provides the shark's vital stats for "Great White, White Death": Weight was 3,417 lbs, caught in Australia in 1976.