Cabela's is fun to walk around and look at the animals and learn about outdoors stuff.


So I knew what Cabela's was because my uncle and cousin liked to go hunting and fishing in Canada and were outdoorsy types. Every year they got stuff from the Cabela's catalog for Christmas and I often saw the catalog sitting around at their house. I thought it was mainly a bunch of camoflauge hunting stuff and fishing poles.

I had driven by the huge one outside Wheeling, W.V. a few times, too. This was my first time actually going into one of their stores. I haven't been to a Bass Pro Shops store either if you're wondering if I've ever experienced the big-box outdoor store before. The only somewhat large outdoor stores I'd been to were Benchmark and some outdoor outfitter store in Dayton where I bought hiking shorts and ski gear in high school and college.

I like the way the store looks on the outside-like some sort of giant idyllic lodge you'd like to stay at on a lake. Once inside there they are! And by "they" I mean the taxidermy animals. I was told the one in Wheeling has lots more of these and they're at a better level to see them. I usually find them scary as I somehow think they are constantly looking at me from any direction I go in. I like looking at the ones here anyway and all of them animals are well done and the information about them is interesting. I also liked the large animal display by the fish tank in the back of the store. I was expecting it to be a much larger fish tank and I was a little disappointed by how small it seemed. I thought it would be like some big aquarium at the zoo or the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) display at the Ohio State Fair. Still neat to see, though.

So, I walked around the store at least twice to make sure I didn't miss anything with the exception of the "gun library," which I skipped altogether and I only went through gunland once. I found the store to be well laid out by product type and easy to navigate. Many items were new to me-especially in the hunting category. My biggest and only complaint is the prices. But I've become a super thrifty shopper and that's my problem, not Cabela's. Example: I have no ability to pay $50-$60 for a pair of pants similar to the ones I paid $7.50 for at the Eddie Bauer Warehouse Store. Same for my hiking boots-I spotted the Merrell pair I recently acquired in beige for $99 and I paid $40 for my blue pair at the Eddie Bauer Warehouse Store. The camping gear was a real shocker. I thought I'd look into getting a tent, and, wow-nothing I would want costs less than $100. Ditto for the sleeping bags. My sister's boyfriend let me borrow his $500 tent and it was nice, but I can't pay that. (So, maybe staying in a hotel room or cabin isn't so pricey!) Lo and behold I discovered the cheap cave of discount items. Bad news was that items in there were still too pricey for me. I guess I need to look into shopping at garage sales to get pieces for backpacking and camping like my friend Aaron does.

This is definitely a store that guys like shopping at. I noticed several happy males, who I would normally see at the mall trodging behind their girlfriends or wives as if being tortured by spending another moment in a store with them. This place is like what Lowe's or Home Depot is for my dad who has lots of tools-a treasure trove of stuff guys like. Don't worry, there's lots of stuff for the outdoorsy ladies, too. There's lots of outdoor clothing and even camoflauge bikini swimwear! For the most part, the clothes cost what they do at sporting goods stores such as Dick's.

In addition to outdoor gear, the store also sells outdoor-themed home goods and foodstuffs. Lots of food and meal choices for those who like to cook while camping. I spotted Lodge cast iron cooking items like the skillet I got in Vermont and the enamelware cup I had for my coffee in college. There's also tons of candy, beef jerky and snacks for sale. Heck, the store even has a restaurant/cafe which also peddles fudge. I tried a sample of fudge from some girl and it was pretty good-it's $7 for two pieces and they have a variety of flavors.

They also have tons of different varieties of items. They don't just carry Cabela's brand items, which I thought was nice. I mean they had several different types of campstoves, chairs and drink filters/cups.

If you like to have more choices, they offer ship to store where you pick it up in the store. They also price match any advertised price on items.

My picks for less than $10*:

-Multi-tool knife for $5.99

-Aloe infused socks $6.99

-16 oz. Cabela's travel tumbler $4.99

-Basic baseball caps with Cabela's logo embroidered on it $5.99

-Camoflauge fleece throw $9.99

- 4 hour White/Green LED clip light $8.99

-various bait and tackle items in a large bin $2.99-$4.99

*Many of these items are on sale for a limited time.

The new store is located at 1650 Gemini Place across from Polaris Fashion Place mall.

***Free breakfast. (Thanks to Linda Deitch at the Dispatch Library for telling me about this!) The Franklin County Farm Bureau is hosting "Breakfast on the Farm" Saturday, June 8, from 8-11 a.m. at Kramer Homestead, 5835 Converse Huff Road in Plain City. Advanced registration is required and can be made by emailing or calling 1-800-451-8908. Hope to see you there.