Saturday, November 8, 2008

Shell Factory & Nature Center

Today I wen to the Shell Factory & Nature Center. I discovered it was neither a Shell Factory nor a Nature Center. It was an old school Florida attraction. The kind of cheesy attraction that was probably hugely successful 30 years ago. The "Shell Factory" portion was just a huge store, broken up into dozens of little section. There was the sea shell section, the jewelry section, the christmas section, the collectable art section, the stuff your own teddy bear section, the kids section, the t-shirt section and the dead baby alligator head section. In the center of the huge building was a huge collection of taxidermied animals. The majority of which were not indiginous to Florida, and a number of the on the endangered animals list. They were really old though, so they were probably killed way before sanctions. If they didn't have the year and country they were hunted in, I'd have assumed that they were just previous exibits of the "Nature Center" section, lol. Although, I really wouldn't surprise me if that wasn't there final resting place.

On top of all the corny souivners and the really tacky taxidermy displays, they also had some old school activites, like camel ride (plastic camel) for 50 cents! And photo booths!

The Nature Center was more like a roadside zoo. There were lots of animals and lots of chicken wire. Not exactly what comes to mind when you think "Nature Center".

The ground hogs were so cute! The encloser made it really hard to get good pictures, but I got a couple.

Loved the waterfall / cliff facade. The ponds below didn't contain any critters, but I think its still under construction. I hope they do a little something to hid the back, it kind of ruins the illusion when you walk around the corner.

The Education Center / Eco Center was basically a bunch of animals that were too small to fit into the big cases. They had lizards, snakes, bunnies, and lots of taxidermy! Of course, there was nothing Educational about it. Not even signs on the cages so you knew what you were looking at, lol! Yes, the big snake crawling up the glass was HUGE! I think he'd eaten one of the rabbits earlier in the day. There was a big lump in his belly.

What would any Florida attraction be without alligators! They actually had some nice ones. They were all out and about posing pretty for pictures.

The petting farm was a little weak. But they had a llama, some goats, a zebra, donky, some sort of exotic bovine and mama pig with 3 little babies. Baby pigs are so cute!

What would a Nature Center be without a Day of the Dinosaur exibit?

They had a bunch of random statues all over the park too. Here is a one of my favorites.
Throughout the property, they also had Water Wars, bumper cars, mini golf, a tiki bar for the grown ups, a real fire engine & a couple of race cars (what kid wouldn't want to sit in the front seat of a fire engine). You could feed ducks, feed the fish, feed the ostrich, and feed the gators. You could tell this was a place that families could spend the day. It's no Disney World, but I bet its still a huge it with the under 10 crowd!


Christina Baldwin said...

This place looks SO corny!! I love it!! And really, why ARE baby pigs so cute? Maybe some left-over Charlottes Web effect? :)

Redd Family History said...

Kris, leave it to you to find a place like this. It looks like it would fit in perfectly in the tourist part of Kissimmee outside of Disney. You know the area I mean. Anyway, keep up these great posts. I never know what you'll come up with.