A Favorite Tourist Trap – Sea Shell City: Cheboygan, Michigan
"GIANT Man-killing Clam!!!" (didn't the sign used to read "Giant Man-EATING Clam"?)
That sign smacks us in the face a couple of times as we head toward the Mackinac Bridge...and its enough to make us turn off Exit 326 to witness for ourselves the murderous man-killing clam. Right? You've done this, haven't ya? DON'T deny it.
Sea Shell City is an extreme tourist souvenir shop, loaded to the gills with all sorts of aquatic swag and knick-knacks: sea shells, gators, clams, oysters (some with real pearl), blowfish, turtles, frogs, sea horses, octopus, snakes, stuffed bears, a wolverine and the usual gang of northern souvenirs.
And, of course, it wouldn't be complete without searching out - and staring at - the giant man-killing clam. Now, giant clams don't intentionally look for divers to munch down on...the most common way these clams kill people is if a diver investigates too close to it's open shell and somehow puts his hand inside to look around (for pearls, etc). Realizing there's something in its shell (maybe food), the clam will clamp down and won't let go. The diver eventually runs out of air and drowns. Now you know.
Doesn't matter, though, right? It's still fun to visit and scare the kids with your own made-up tales of man-killing, man-eating clams. Plus, there are plenty of cool little items to purchase, even if you've been in there many, many times, you usually walk out with something.
Sea Shell City opened at it's current location in May 1963, after closing it's original shop in Gaylord, off Old 27. That old shop is now the Alpine Auto Auction (SEE PHOTO BELOW).
It's address is listed as Cheboygan, even though Cheboygan is a full 12 miles east. (Riggsville is closer at 6 miles south and so is Levering at 8 miles west).
How can you pass this up on your northern Michigan roadtrip? Well you shouldn't. Visit soon and take pics of the giant monster clam!
Check out their website at seashellcitymi.com.