The Great American Alligator Museum - Atlas Obscura

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The Great American Alligator Museum

Come for the 14-foot-long taxidermy alligator. Stay for the mini costumed gators shooting pool. 


Nestled in the heart of New Orleans’s Lower Garden district, among the vintage stores, coffee shops, and restaurants that line Magazine Street, the Great American Alligator Museum celebrates alligators’ 65 million-year-old history on planet Earth. The owners of the museum, Liz and Robert McDade, curated this one-of-a-kind exhibit after years of collecting and selling fossils and minerals. 

Highlights of the museum include a 14-foot taxidermy alligator named Fideauax and a 50 million-year-old caiman fossil. There’s also a vast array of alligator-themed artifacts, folk art, comic books, curios, movie posters, TV memorabilia, and more, carefully curated throughout the five-room space. 

In the back room of the small museum, taxidermy mini-gators pose in various tableaus. A trucker hat made from alligator skin is displayed in a glass case. And framed on the wall is a photo of the second episode of Leave It to Beaver, in which Beaver and Wally purchase a baby alligator and release it into the toilet.

The museum also chronicles the sad history of poaching alligators for their hides. A display of alligator handbags, shoes, and other accessories from the early 1900s showcases the tragic fate of many alligators. The museum also educates visitors about the largely successful alligator conservation efforts in Louisiana, which have become a model for similar programs throughout the United States.

The donations-only museum offers a fun, whimsical glimpse into these mysterious, ancient animals, their distinctive role in American landscapes such as swamps, marshlands, and bayous, and the intersection of their long history with the comparatively brief history of humankind. 

Know Before You Go

The Alligator Museum has very limited hours. Give them a call before you head out. They have a well-stocked gift shop and accept donations of any size for admission.

The storefront museum is on the corner of Magazine Street and Josephine Street.

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February 22, 2024

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