Museum's got gator

Tina Harbuck
The alligator is 11 feet, 7 inches and is about 5-feet wide at its widest part.

The Destin History and Fishing Museum has a new addition — about 12 feet of an addition.

Last week, John Holguin of Fort Walton Beach dropped off an 11-feet-7-inch alligator to be on display for those that drop by the museum located on Stahlman Avenue.

“This thing is huge,” said Kathy Marler Blue, museum director. “We’ve already had a big response. Everybody that has come in has had to have their picture taken with it.”

The gator came out of the Apalachicola River.

Holguin said he and a friend had captured the gator about six years ago and at the time the gator measured 12 feet 3 inches and weighed in at 569 pounds.

“It was our biggest one by far,” said Holguin, who still likes to gator hunt.

However, he’s happy his huge mount has found a home.

“I’m glad it’s got a home, a good home, where kids can come and see and touch it,” he said.

But where has the gator been for the last six years?

“It’s been in my garage,” Holguin said, noting there was no room in their home.

Last week he loaded it onto a flatbed and tailored it to Destin.

He said the gator drew a lot of attention on the trek from Fort Walton Beach to Destin with folks rubbernecking and snapping photos of the gator.

Right now the gator is on loan to the museum, however, there are hopes that it will become a permanent fixture.

“It sure is a big draw,” Blue said. “The Gator fans (University of Florida fans) need to come down and see this thing.”

The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.