Sunday, June 16, 2013

World's Foremost Outfitter

WHERE were those wild creatures in the It's All Happening post?

INSIDE an upscale outdoorsy retail store complete with high ceilings, a centerpiece indoor mountain of slopes and ledges teeming with wildlife — all dead and preserved in realistic poses in Cabela's off I-78 in Hamburg, PA (as Doris, Mona and Elaine correctly figured out). 

Cabela's Hamburg PA

This outdoor retail store is one of the biggest "tourist" attractions in this area. We found it accidentally when returning from a visit to the Reading RR museum, also in Hamburg.

world's foremost outfitter

Cabela's, based in Sidney, Nebraska, calls itself "The World's Foremost Outfitter" with 39 stores across the U.S. and in Canada.We had NEVER been in one, so finding this one, chain's largest U.S. retail store, was a surprise. This mega-store sits atop a hill and is visible for several miles. Inside the massive 250,000 square foot store is an educational and entertainment show room, featuring animal displays in various ecosystems that recreate their natural habitats. The setups look like something seen in museums — but here it's all free, if you can resist shopping, which we did. 

The taxidermy and other attractions form Cabela's key marketing strategy: Make each store a destination and visitors will spend time and money. The large retail stores look like huge stone hunting lodges attracting hunting, fishing, outdoor minded enthusiasts and just plain curious folks (like us0. Typically situated on a hill that overlooks a major interstate highway, these large retail stores annually attract close to 4 million visitors, many travel over 100 miles to reach one.

Conservation Mountain, a 30-foot-tall fiberglass creation filled with preserved wildlife, is the centerpiece exhibit. Displays are realistic, including some animal savagery scenes — bears "maul" a moose behind the mountain, a lynx chases a snowshoe hare beside a waterfall, an arctic wolf has designs on some musk ox, a mountain lion surveys a some big-horn sheep.

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The Africa Diorama has gruesome scenes on its simulated slice of the African plains — a pride of lions chase down a panicked assortment of herd animals and two alligators attack a wildebeest. 

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Cabela's has a taxidermy product manager  in charge of designing displays and collecting animals, buying hides from hunters, then hiring local taxidermists to create the appropriate poses and scenes. Mounted animals are bought from hunters wanting to free up space in their homes. According to online sources, all animals are donated; none were hunted in an illegal manner or for the purpose of being used in the retail stores.

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This retail store (and others) are proof that you don't have to go far to see the outdoors as it's now indoors.


Tojav said...

I prefer to watch the animals in the forest and meadow.

Anvilcloud said...

What a place! I think I'd love to see it. And I would wish that I could young and outdoorsy.

Sandra said...

same type mountain they have in the bass pro shops, i visited one in Savannah GA but this one has different types of animals, bass only had what is native to Ga

Triumph said...

We have a much smaller Cabela's here. I'm stunned by the (high) price of clothing and other gear for those who hunt and fish. I used to think golf was expensive but that doesn't approach the cost of outfitting at Cabela's. Even our small store is an amazing sight inside, though.

Elaine said...

We've been to several Cabellas,even going through the original store in Nebraska. Fascinating displays.

Daisy said...

We've been to Cabella's in Michigan. It's quite an interesting and unusual place.

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