Skunk Ape Research Headquarters: A Florida Roadside Attraction

Last May I wrote about some of the unusual roadside attractions like The Grave of Flipper and the Airstream Ranch in Dover. Well, I’m proud (maybe I should say embarrassed) to say that we stopped by the Skunk Ape Research Center in Ochopee while traveling across Tamiami Trail last month.


This spot may take the prize as the worst attraction in the state. Thankfully, admission is not charged to enter the research center, and we decided not to part with $10 to pay for admission to the “research center’s” reptile and bird exhibit, located behind a black curtain in the back of gift shop.


The Headquarters are located in Ochopee next to the Trail Lakes Campground operated by the Shealy brothers who have been tracking the Skunk Ape in the Everglades for decades. Proof of their success can be seen or purchased in the form of books, postcards, and pictures. Of course, the gift shop offers items including T-shirts, key chains, caps, and skunk ape field guides for sale; but we somehow managed to leave empty-handed.

Less than a mile east of the Skunk Ape Research Center, we made a second stop at another of Florida’s weird roadside attractions…the Ochopee Post Office, a tiny shed, that’s officially recognized as the smallest post office in the U.S. Imagine…two attractions in Ochopee!