Animal heads fill Rio Vista bar

One restaurant has more than 250 animal heads decorating its walls. (Jan. 4, 2017)

One of the Valley's largest collections of exotic animals isn't in a zoo. It's in a small bar in Solano County and you don't have to give up your seat to see Lions, zebras and even an elephant.

“There are 255 animal heads, including the fish,” said Howard LaMothe, owner of Foster’s Bighorn in Rio Vista. "Bill Foster ran whiskey during prohibition. With the money he made, he went hunting."

When you walk into Foster's Bighorn, you are surrounded by animal taxidermy mounts from all over the world.

"One-half of the bar is North America, the other side is mostly Africa," LaMothe said.

Foster died in 1963. At one point the building fell in the hands of the IRS.

A local Rio Vista couple bought the building in the 1960s. LaMothe bought it from them in 2000.

“You certainly have the responsibility of carrying it on for the next guy,” LaMothe said.

Today some animal on the wall are now endangered or protected, but they date back to a time when hunting laws were different and many people didn't know they existed.

“When the animal heads started going up, grammar school kids couldn't wait to get in here and see the new strange animals,” LaMothe said.

Foster's Bighorn has turned into a museum cared for by bar owners past and present. 

LaMothe is ready to retire and sell the bar. When he does, LaMothe says there is one stipulation:

"The animal heads must stay."

Copyright 2016 KXTV


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