Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Jungleland, Thousand Oaks - March 1963

Jungleland is a Southern California amusement park that many readers of this blog are not familiar with. Which is understandable! It was little, and off the beaten path - Thousand Oaks was really "the sticks" in those days - and it's been gone for over 40 years. But I have fond memories of the place! Here are a few photos from 1963.


Hey, there's an old lady in that cage full of tigers! It's none other than Mabel Stark, who was 73 years old by this point. She had performed with big cats since 1916, and was, for a time, one of Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus' top acts. She survived numerous maulings, and spent her last years at Jungleland.

In another arena, a sure-footed goat walks up a narrow plank. For some reason I have a vivid memory of watching a squirrel cross some wires overhead when I was sitting in a similar audience years later. In the background you can see the long row of enclosures...

... kind of like this one. I don't like seeing those amazing animals cooped up in that tiny cage, but folks were not as enlightened as they are now. Perhaps Jungleland closed at the right time, as much as I miss it.

7 comments:

TokyoMagic! said...

I don't like seeing them in those cages either, Major.

Was the squirrel on the wire a performing resident of Jungleland or was he just passing through?

Major Pepperidge said...

TM, the squirrel was just a local resident who liked to show off!

JG said...

Sad to see those guys in cages. But I agree, Major, it's hard not to feel a twinge when looking at good memories.

Good while it lasted, but all right that it ended.

Thanks for sharing your memory.

JG

Anonymous said...

Wasn't Jungleland the site of a mauling incident that involved one of Jayne Mansfield's kids?

Major Pepperidge said...

Glad you liked these, JG!

Anon, yes, Jayne's son Zandor was mauled by a lion. Apparently he was critically injured, but made a full recovery.

bloefeld said...

Great photos Major. Especially the one of Mabel. If you haven't already, you should read The Final Confession of Mabel Stark. It's a fantastic fictionalized account of her life.

Randy Chucko Ram Runyon said...

A couple of points of clearification.Jayne Mansfields sons name was Zolton Hargitay. Also thanks for the wonderful photo of the cubs but as you can see the divider betwen their 3 cages was open but as with most kids, they love to play together. So at various times of the day that was done, but not at feeding time because they got to rough with each other.