What I really wanted out of Tybee Island’s Crab Shack were some decent crab cakes that I could eat with my husband and dogs. What we got was a friendly place that also serves as a shelter for about a dozen cats and 10 rescued birds.
The shack restaurant is fine and had a great variation on crab cakes in the shell. It’s it’s kitschy with a Jimmy Buffett boozy atmosphere. The big draw was that they were quite happy to have two barely behaved beagles on their patio. We got to sit next to a friendly local couple with a basset named Beauregard. They also mentioned that pelicans are often out on the lagoon. We were too hungry to look. You throw your garbage out through a pit in the center of each table.
Outside the restaurant, they’ve got three animal operations. There’s the alligator lagoon, which stocks baby alligators that you can feed (a sign warns you not to try it with wild ones). The staff says they come from a Florida breeder, then get shipped back there when they are grown. Not sure what that means about their fate.
The restaurant does go way out of its way to help other animals. They’ve got a “Cat Shack” by their store, which has living quarters for the 12 cats that the restaurant neuters, vaccinates and supports. They urge people not to feed them table food, but there is a jar if you want to contribute to the cat fund. Lisa who works in the shop explains how it came about: “We’re a seafood restaurant that’s been here for thirty years. The cats are just drawn to us.”
Off the gift shop is another sanctuary for exotic birds. These are former pets whose owners died or couldn’t take care of them. Now they live together in huge cages with a water view.
Lisa said she doesn’t know how much it costs to take care of the menagerie: “It’s expensive, but they’re worth it.”
|Where to SEE BIG CATS: Cougar, Leopard, Lion, Mountain Lion, Tiger|
|Where to SEE HORSESHOE CRABS|
|SEE ANIMALS IN THE SOUTH (AL, AR, GA, KY, MS, LA, NC, SC, TN, VA, WV)|