Hiking with Hailey: Elberta sculptures at Barber Marina
Mark Cline’s quirky creations can be found just off the road on the way to the Marina.
ELBERTA, Ala. (WSFA) - Here on Hiking with Hailey we’ve seen some pretty interesting things, but nothing quite as unique as the art sculptures that can be found outside of Barber Marina in Elberta.
Located just North of Orange Beach, Barber Marina provides boat docks and maintenance for its customers, but we’re not here to talk about the marina. It’s what you see leading up to the shop that has visitors in awe.
Just tucked off the marina’s main road, you can find a complete replica of Stonehenge, the prehistoric stone structure found in England, and if you wander deep enough into the woods, you’ll come face to face with one of the world’s most notorious primeval predators.
And if you’re anything like me, you want to know why?
Well, let me introduce you to the man behind these massive models - Mr. Mark Cline. A native of Virginia, Cline fell in love with the art of entertainment, which has since become his passion.
“Back then, the TV shows that were on, “The Andy Griffith Show,” and all these. I was starting to imitate some of the characters,” said Cline. “I became these characters, and the characters needed props, so I learned how to make props to go along with my characters. And so one thing sort of led to another and I could go through the whole thing but here I am today talking to you. And I build props for theme parks and attractions and billionaires and millionaires and eccentric people all over the world.”
And that’s what brought him to Alabama.
George Barber reached out to Cline wanting to add some spice to their marina, so he built seven of his signature fiberglass dinosaur sculptures and tucked them all along the property. Not long after, he was once again commissioned by Barber to build Bamahenge, which stands 21 feet tall and 104 feet across.
He’s also responsible for the ethereal aquatic woman called Lady of the Lake, which unfortunately was destroyed by Hurricane Sally last year. However, Cline has plans to repair the structure and replace it later this fall.
Cline’s isn’t the only art on display. You can also find a sizeable spider and some hidden knights protecting the park, creating a special scavenger hunt for visitors.
“Somebody asked me just yesterday, they said ‘How long have you been working on this?’ and I said, ‘Well I’m 60 years old.’ And I did the math and I said about 55 years, and they went, ‘Do what?!’ and I said when I was 5 years old I drew up my first dinosaur park,” said Cline. “So when I say this, it’s been in me for such a long time, but I went for about 27 years in my studio building this stuff and had no idea that I was creating something that was so unique that nobody else was doing.”
A man and his love of amusement, bringing Alabamians a unique slice of history.
“I’m a guy that loves to have fun, loves to entertain people. To me, that’s what it’s really all about,” said Cline. “The fact that I make any money out of, it just amazes me every day. The important thing to me was always about the joy that it brings to people, using your ability, whatever it might be. This happens to be mine and that’s what I do.”
You can learn more about Cline’s creations on his website www.enchantedcastlestudios.com.
Copyright 2021 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.