Rodeo, New Mexico
October 25, 2005
Logging history and the locally famous Chow Chow Bridge are featured in the foyer. Newspaper articles, photos, and a scale model of this unique suspension bridge, which used to span the Quinault River near Tahola, can be viewed. Nature and history books are also available for purchase.
In the Children’s Room, shiny sea turtle shells and pelts from different animals can be felt. Many animal skulls are on display, as is the wide gaping toothy jaw of a Great White shark, caught off North Jetty. Throughout the center, and especially in the Mammal Room, you’ll find lifelike animals and birds, frozen in time by skilled taxidermy.
One of my favorite displays was in the Geology Room: cryptozoology, the study of hidden animals. Sasquatch theory is supported by a giant footprint casting taken in local forest in 1982, the late Dr. Grover Krantz, a Washington State University anthropologist, and oral Indian history. Northwestern tribes called the big hairy creatures Tsiako, and believed them to be intelligent, kind, and strong half-human/half animals. Cadborosaurus, an enormous humped sea serpent, is also featured.
A tsunami display in the hallway includes a bottle of Hawaiian tsunami lager and fascinating written accounts of oral Indian histories recounting a great earthquake, followed by massive flooding that destroyed villages. A composite legend of Thunderbird and Whale explains the event as a terrible and lengthy fight between these two.
The Seashell Room was another favorite. No do not touch signs at the center. Everything out in the open is intended for handling and studying closely; more delicate objects are safely stored for viewing only behind glass. Another great thing here is the profusion of educational brochures in the hallways and every room pertaining to the subjects displayed.
The large new addition to the center consists of Indian Room, dominated by a modern Salish totem pole from Ocean Shores Inn, Seafaring Area, and video corner where you can view a variety of films about the ocean and natural history.
The dedicated volunteer staff is very helpful and knowledgeable. The center has been through many changes since it began in the early 1970s as part of the Ocean Shores Library. In 1977, they moved into this building, which is owned by the city of Ocean Shores. Funding came and went, nonprofit status was attained, and it’s now again as it began, largely manned by unpaid staff with city support.
From journal Fortnight at Ocean Shores