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Put-in-Bay, Ohio: Taxidermy Free-for-All

A small nature center filled with stuffed dead animals, many mounted in the act of killing and eating other stuffed dead animals.

Lake Erie Islands Nature and Wildlife Center

255 Meechen Rd, Put-in-Bay, OH
Lake Erie Islands Nature and Wildlife Center. From the ferry landing turn right onto Rt 163/Langram Rd. Drive three-quarters of a mile. Turn left onto Meechen Rd. Drive a half-mile. The Center will be on the right, just past the intersection for Put-In-Bay Rd.
Summer opens daily at 10 am. (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
Adults $3.
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Nature is cruel.

Taxidermy Free-for-All

The Lake Erie Islands Nature and Wildlife Center is home to a startling array of extraordinary taxidermy. According to the man who served as our guide, the animals were stuffed by a local high school teacher. What's really remarkable, other than the quality and the sheer number of specimens, is that they seem to be engaged in a feeding frenzy. Many of the stuffed carnivores are immortalized chomping on hapless prey. The herbivores get in on the action, too; a large beaver gnaws on a log as a coyote and badger fight over a gopher nearby. There are all kinds of local and not-so-local species, including a timberwolf, foxes (one holds a dead squirrel in its jaws), all sorts of freshwater and marine fishes, and on and on.

The displays are mounted in very involved dioramas. And there were so many of them! Our guide was full of information, some tidbits less verifiable than others ("Canada geese aren't named that because they're from Canada; they were discovered by a man whose last name was Canada"). Sometimes we wondered if our leg was being pulled, but it was entertaining all the same.

Honestly, this was one of the most "Roadside America-y" places I've been. All of the elements were there: bland first appearances that escalated to total weirdness, everything taken just a step too far, and an extraordinarily zealous guide who trailed you, full of information. We went in with expectations of tadpole tanks and Audubon sketches of Great Blue Herons. Instead we found a whole lot more.

[Kitsa, 08/24/2016]

Nearby Offbeat Places

Perry's Cave, War of 1812 Mini-GolfPerry's Cave, War of 1812 Mini-Golf, Put-in-Bay, OH - < 1 mi.
Stand Inside World's Largest GeodeStand Inside World's Largest Geode, Put-in-Bay, OH - < 1 mi.
Big Statue of AtlasBig Statue of Atlas, Put-in-Bay, OH - < 1 mi.
In the region:
Seneca Caverns - "Caviest Cave in the USA", Bellevue, OH - 29 mi.

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