THE OJAI VALLEY TAXIDERMY MUSEUM: Meet Viral Video Superstars & Get Stuffed

318 N Arnaz St, Ojai, CA 93023

Located on a winding road, deep in the Ojai Valley, the Taxidermy Museum is a cross between a survivalist shop and the the dinner scene from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

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Like most museums located in a random stranger's garage near the desolate woods, the scene is a little sketchy upon arrival.

You'll find yourself parking on a quite suburban street, and slowly creeping your way up a driveway, thinking "Is this the end?" all while avoiding a cavalcade of barking guard dogs. I imagine this is what the first day of Federal prison might feel like.

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Once you finally reach a sign that simply says Ojai Vally Taxidermy the adventure begins.

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Oh deer, this place is not for the squeamish.

A PETA nightmare, the museum (though more like a shed in his backyard) offers a lot of what you'd expect. Fully stuffed cats, rams, bulls heads and deer abound, and they're all staring at you with their (literally) dead eyes. Oh yea, there's also a garbage can filled with animal skins, and tub of molds that take center stage.

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The "curator" (also land owner, taxidermist and receptionist) is Chuck Testa, a man you might recognize from this viral gem.

He's a very interesting guy, who's been living around Ojai for a long time and is clearly very good at his craft. Get him talking, and you'll learn a lot about skinning, stuffing and putting fake eyeballs inside of dead animals, facts that'll make for a great dinner conversation down the line.

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Chuck also has a nice corner that shows off his many taxidermy awards and ribbons he's won over the years.

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Oh the humanity.

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Chuck took about 45 minutes out of his day to talk to us about how SoCal has changed, his political views (things got a little heavy), and the taxidermy process. The whole experience was quite impressive, and worth a stop, if this is your sort of thing. You can even buy his swag here

HOW THE HELL DID THIS HAPPEN?

Chuck, a lifelong SoCal resident from Culver City, moved to the Ojai Valley in the 70s. Intrigued by a a bird mounting kit he ordered from a magazine in 1981, Chuck fell in love with taxidermy and decided to try and make a living out of it.

In 1987, Ojai Valley Taxidermy was open for business, where it remains in Chuck's backyard to this day.

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