Monday, September 27, 2010

The Infamous Clark's Fish Camp!

IF you are in the Jacksonville area, and IF you have your own transportation and can get there (Because it is a bit of a haul if you are staying down town) be sure to visit Clark's!

From the outside, you would swear there is NO WAY ON EARTH that this could be a viable eating establishment, it looks like an over grown and added on to chicken shack sitting there at the edge of Julington Creek....one good strong wind should push it right off its moorings and into the water it would go!

In fact, it looked extra uninhabital this visit due to the construction and excavation....seems the bathrooms always flooded and alligators would be found swimming around on the water covered floor!

So for our convenience, since the bathrooms were closed, there was a porta-potty-trailer just outside, if you should happen to need one!

It started out as a simple bait & tackle shop. I'm not sure when they started to serve food there, and I am doubly unsure of when it came to be the retirement home for copious amounts of really weird taxidermy, but there you have it!

Everywhere you turn, there are animals and birds and reptiles of all varieties staring back at you from behind their glassy eyed expressions. In other words, it's a ZOO in there, and it's not just due to the mobs of people that frequent the place. It's everywhere!

This blurb is from the website:
"Rumored to be one of the largest privately owned collections of taxidermy in the country, Clark's menagerie of preserved animals includes lions, tigers, monkeys, bears, giraffes, deer, bobcats, and a flock of birds that gaze eerily at guests in the bar area and dining rooms."

Weird or not, it is just plain fun! And the food is great. I ended up with the stuffed flounder florentine, which had spinach and scallops as the stuffing...it was baked, not fried, so delicious!

And these are some of the lookers-on while we dined!

This guy was just hanging around and chillaxing.....

Don't you think this is extremely weird? Musk Oxen and Lions together? Add Christmas lights, and some how it is "ambiance" !

I just know this guy had his eye on my hushpuppies!

I'm not sure how the taxidermy collection started. I don't know where they all came from. It's sad and it's beautiful all at the same time? I'm not sure how to describe it.

It's a very very interesting place! If you have a chance...go! It's a Jacksonville Tradition for me!

These pics were taken by Marcia's hubby, Lou!

He caught me trying to duck out of the way from his camera, but he got me anyway!

A view from outside...yes there are gators, and turtles and other marine life right there in the water!

Even with the cloudy skies predicting rain, it was a gorgeous Jacksonville Friday evening!

My special thanks to Marcia and Lou for making sure that my one request of a return visit to Clark's HAPPENED! It was a great show, and this was the perfect end to a perfect visit!


  1. Yep, that looks like a very strange place. I'd only want to go there if the food was worthy!! It sounds like it was.

  2. Kind of like dining at a shabby Cabelas?? What happens if you try to duck out without paying the bill? Do they feed you to the gators??

  3. Glad you enjoyed your meal and the Fish Camp experience. LOL

    We were on our way home from Spring Training in Jupiter, FL -- with a side trip to St. Simons Island. I was talking on the cell with my sister who was in her office on her computer when on a whim, she decided to check www.tripadvisor.com for good seafood in/around Jacksonville. She discovered the Fish Camp and told us about it. We don't usually like to stop en route ... certainly not that far off the interstate for the time that it would take to have a nice meal. But we decided to go ahead and give it a try since my sister had gone to the trouble of finding it for us. And were we glad that we did (thankfully the reviews mentioned the appearance; otherwise, I do believe we would have made a beeline for the interstate LOL). I, too, had the flounder. YUMMY!

  4. Looks like one of those dives that has excellent food though!

  5. What a great experience! I went to a roadside tavern here in N WI that was filled with taxidermy--the animals were enclosed in glass cases and were positioned in various human scenarios--dogs-playing-poker kind of thing. Curious and creepy at the same time.

  6. I used to live in the Jacksonville area and Clark's definitely qualifies as a place with a strange atmosphere, but the food is fabulous! I am now craving fresh seafood as I type. Quiltfest and Clark's...good combo platter!

  7. OMG that is so fun.... funny.. odd... just WOW!

  8. Sorry...but it looks like a big game hunter's nightmare, where all the animals come back to haunt him! I guess it's one of those places where you have to go to at least once!

  9. I live in Jacksonville and Clark's is definitely worth the food and experience. It's one of our favorite places. You can hardly get in the place on Saturday and Sunday. Glad you enjoyed it.

  10. I had the treat of eating there in May. The BBQ Gator Toes were most excellent. One hint: don't order the Swamp Water if you have anything important to do the next day. That one drink knocked me flat!