If you're a lover of taxidermy and you've visited San Francisco, chances are that someone has recommended Paxton Gate to you. In 2010 a separately licensed Portland store opened, which shares a similar aesthetic but is operated by a different entity.
I've visited SO. MANY. ODDITIES. STORES. over the years. No matter where I travel, whichever local specialty store sells taxidermy, bones, and/or dead things in jars is the first thing that's recommended to me.
For the most part, many stores that lump themselves into the "oddity shop" category are pretty pricey, but I was pleasantly surprised by Paxton Gate! Not only was everything very reasonably priced for the quality, but their staff was SO friendly and they had an amazing array of things. From tiny shells around fifty cents to an amazing hippopotamus mount priced at six grand, there was something for everyone - books, science kits, succulents and carnivorous plants, jewelry, candles, skulls, taxidermy, diaphonized specimens... I loved it all, and their displays were beautiful!
I left empty-handed, but only because I try to limit myself to one souvenir per trip. There happened to be a street fair going on outside and I managed to snag a three-pound chunk of amethyst from one of the vendors there for only ten bucks!
Check out Paxton Gate if you're ever in San Francisco or Portland. You never know what you'll find!