The fascinating and slightly unsettling experience that is Cabela’s

No, I’m not talking about an Italian restaurant, but about the large outdoor/hunting/fishing/camping chain of stores here in the US. These stores are amazing and feature restaurants, oodles of clothing for every outdoor occasion (except perhaps a wedding or funeral…although maybe not,) weapons, ponds filled with live fish, and even a museum of sorts. It’s the last part that might create a bit of queasiness as you roam the aisles, because everywhere you look in a Cabela’s, dead animals are looking back. Observe…

I have this funny feeling I’m being watched.

This is how horror movies start.

We have two items on the menu today – meat…

…and wood.

I get the same feeling at the Museum of Natural History here in New York where there are hundreds of dead and stuffed animals placed in dioramas simulating their natural environments which they would have been in if not for being killed, shipped thousands of miles away, gutted, stuffed and finally mounted in a climate controlled museum. I know my ambivalence is showing. On the one hand I am fascinated by the displays and understand the reasoning behind them, much of it quite laudatory in trying to save and preserve the species and their natural habitat. On the other hand, it’s hard not to feel sorrow at the knowledge that these gorgeous creatures were cut down in what appears to be the prime of their lives. I know, I know, what about cows and tuna and turkeys and the rest of the arc that make up our grocery stores? Like I said, ambivalence.

The end result is that I’m as intrigued with my own reaction as I am with the store itself. As a writer, I like that.

  1. stillnotbored

    The Field Museum in Chicago is like that, with room after room of birds, animals and recreated habitats. Toss in the dinosaurs–which is what I went for–and it is a bit odd as well as overwhelming.

    I can truthfully say, however, that I’ve never been in a store with a dead mountain goat display. *g*

    Now I need to stop laughing and go back to working on the novel.

  2. lanyn

    We have a gigantic Bass Pro shop near me. It sounds very similar in decoration to the Cabela’s. It’s kind of like walking into a hunter’s vision of Disneyland. They have a neat aquarium, though, with monstrous catfish in it. My little nephew calls them sharks. 😀

    • admin

      I’ve never been in a Bass Pro, but it does sound similar. Hmmm, I wonder why they don’t have one here on the Upper East Side?


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