One of the "Pelicans in Paradise"

Catching a Glimpse of Pelicans in Paradise

Inspired by a similar cow-themed project in Portland, Oregon, downtown Pensacola, Florida has slowly been taken over by fiberglass pelican statues since 2004. We managed to “capture” a few of these birds while in town.

While traveling through Pensacola during our road trip, we started noticing an odd thing. Strange bird statues were popping up every so often.

Stopping at a corner in downtown Pensacola, we managed to snap several different ones. Each had a theme. While most of the pelicans we saw on that corner had a military theme (Navy, Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, etc.), we also saw a Pensacola News-themed bird perched a few yards away.

So what was this strange sight?

Turns out, this odd flock is part of Pelicans in Paradise, is a public art project organized by the Pensacola News Journal. Each fiberglass pelican is 5 feet tall, and sits on a cement “perch”. Originally inspired by a similar cow project in Portland, Oregon, 41 pelicans have been commissioned for this project since 2004, supposedly.

Yet, it seems the popularity of these birds has continued to grow, as only one of the pelicans we saw is on that list of 41 – meaning that number is now wholly inaccurate. Who knows, maybe by the time we visit again, the pelicans will have completely taken over the whole town!

A lot of the pelicans have been given names. The one above, the United States Coast Guard Pelican, has been nicknamed “Salty”. Based on the Facebook page dedicated to these guys, we missed a lot of the more colorful ones, many of whom have been moved indoors, or even to private residents.

If you’re in Pensacola, be sure to tune in to that page to see where these funky pelicans currently are. While we liked the ones we did manage to “catch”, the other, more elaborate ones, would have been a nice part of our journey as well. Plus, who wouldn’t want to try manage to capture the whole collection?


Pensacola's Pelicans in Paradise
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Pelicans in Paradise

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    FL - Downtown Pensacola

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    FL - Downtown Pensacola 30.420862, -87.216786 Pelicans in Paradise
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