Thursday, October 13, 2011

Fun In California

Today I have a selection of photos from various California attractions.


First up is this 1965 image of the entrance to the world famous San Diego Zoo. There are bigger, fancier zoos, but San Diego's is pretty fabulous. Its history can be traced back to the exotic animal exhibits from the 1915 Panama-California Exposition; it was a pioneer in building "cageless" exhibits, using moats to separate animals from people. And it is one of the few museums in the United States to have giant pandas. Awwww, pandas!


This picture was taken aboard the Nut Tree Railroad, in Vacaville, California. The Nut Tree started out as a fruit stand, but grew to eventually have a restaurant, a small airport, a toy shop, a bakery, and of course, this little railroad. At first the train just went around the property, but eventually it actually took people to the airport and back. The Nut Tree has closed and reopened several times, and big changes have been made, but you can still ride the Nut Tree Railroad today.


Now we're back in San Diego, in Sea World. This photo is from 1967, only three years after the park opened. There's not much to see here, but it looks like a pretty place!


I hope you've enjoyed your visit to California!

17 comments:

TokyoMagic! said...

Egad! That dreaded Blogger picture viewer thingy is back! I don't like it....make it go away!

Anyhoo, I haven't been to the San Diego Zoo since I was in 4th grade. I want to go back and ride their Skyway (Skyfari?) and pretend I'm at Disneyland. I wonder if the zoo's entrance still looks like this? The Los Angeles Zoo should have never changed their "Three's Company" entrance. Everything should stay the same.....always. Change is bad.

Nice pics today, Major!

Chiana_Chat said...

lol some change is great TM! but I get what you mean.

The Nut Tree RR looks adorable. I had no idea the place existed. Now if I go through that way I'll have to see if I can ride the Nut Tree RR! :)

Chuck said...

Major, thanks especially for the Nut Tree Railroad post! I spent six of my formative years (ages 2-8) within 10 minutes of the Nut Tree and was a frequent visitor.

The train ride out to the airport was a highlight of any trip, with a really neat track layout that wound around areas of the property inaccssible to foot traffic through some farm-themed scenery. I had completely forgotten about the tunnel until I saw this photo.

Is there a processing date stamped on the slide mount?

Any more Nut Tree photos will be geatly appreciated!

Major Pepperidge said...

TokyoMagic!, I don't have that blogger viewer slideshow thing, it looks just like it's supposed to. Since you looked at this at around 2 in the morning, maybe it was just a temporary glitch? Try it again and see.

Chiana, you can get a better idea of how cute The Nut Tree was in its glory days by looking at some postcard images here:

http://www.alamedainfo.com/nut_tree_CA.htm

Chuck, very cool that you got to experience the Nut Tree Railroad when the place was really thriving. I sure wish I had more photos of the place. This particular slide is dated "February 1976".

Hannahx2 said...

Love Seaworld... it is very pretty and green. I'll have a Hawaiian Punch please! Whatever that is. I'm sure it was splendid. Or painful.

Anonymous said...

The Blogger Picture Viewer Thing is still active at 9:30 PDT. I don't like it either.

Major Pepperidge said...

Hannahx2, you've never tasted Hawaiian Punch? You can still buy it at any grocery store (as far as I know). It's like "Hi-C", sort of. My memory of it is that it was good, but very sugary.

Major Pepperidge said...

Anon, it's so weird. I am not getting the picture viewer at all!

Brian Fies said...

I grew up in Northern California and the Nut Tree was a mandatory stop on all trips. It was really pretty charming, famous for its giant frosted cookies and little loaves of store-baked bread, with a lot of aircraft theming and memorabilia hanging from the ceiling. Eating at the restaurant, which featured a big glass-enclosed aviary with hundreds of birds, was a rare treat. It was pretty great.

Sadly, it was all torn down and replaced by a mall using the same name. The airport's still there and I'll take your word that the train is, too, but I haven't had the heart (or any reason) to stop and check.

JG said...

Wow, I've been to all these places, multiple times.

Thanks Major.

San Diego Zoo. I remember that entrance from my first visit. All different now, of course.

Sea World. My visits were much later, but still fun.

Nut Tree. My experiences here much like @Chuck and @Brian. The original buildings were great '50's modern, much like the Disneyland Hotel, with the perforated beam and metal deck look. My Dad flew us into the airport once for Mom's birthday at the restaurant. I remember the two story aviary full of singing birds very well.

Of course, we rode the little train around and around.

Most of this survived until the early '90's. We stopped there with our children so they could ride the giant rocking horses...and the little train. But the restaurant was closed.

Then, as Brian says, it all came down to become the most banal and ugly shopping center imaginable.

Thanks for the look back.

JG

bloefeld said...

Thanks for these, Major. I remember going to Sea World when I was really young. This photo really jogged my memories of that trip. I remember drinking my Hawaiian punch out of a big fancy glass. Haven't been to the San Diego Zoo in years, but I too want to ride the skyway there and pretend it's going through the Matterhorn. Last time I drove by the Nut Tree the only thing still standing was the sign. Great post!

Chuck said...

Thinking back on the Nut Tree, there were a lot of similarities to Knott's Berry Farm. It started out as a roadside stand on a major highway that evolved into a restaurant that became surrounded by a cluster of stores and some other activities to occupy guests while they were waiting for their tables. It was nowhere as big or elaborate as Knott's, but those similarities remain.

As far as attractions were concerned, there was the train, a porch full of rocking horses, a giant giraffe rocking horse, a huge bookstore, an outdoor cafe, a candy shop, a toy store, an outdoor puppet theater, and three native Negrito huts from the Phillipines set in a stand of bamboo. They also owned the Coffee Tree, a coffee house across I-80 from the Nut Tree proper.

There was also this difficult to describe wall of Mary Blair-ish animal caricatures that you could climb up behind, open doors, and look out where the faces would be. The closest thing I can compare it to is the joke wall from "Laugh-In." You could also buy mugs with the animal caricatures on them. Sounds odd, but it was amazingly fun as a kid, and it's stayed with me all these years. I still have my lion mug.

Kids' meals - a hot dog or a hamburger, if I remember correctly - were served with a butterfly-shaped dish of mustard and ketchup, separated by a berm across the middle of the dish. I used to take my french fries and paint ketchup pictures in the mustard and vice-versa. It was at the Nut Tree that I developed my lifelong preference for mustard on fries (although I'll eat them pretty much any way).

They used to give out the recipe for their fantastic nut bread on little note cards. I have a scanned copy if anyone is interested.

Connie Moreno said...

Oh my goodness, so many comments and I can't think of anything to say!

Connie Moreno said...

YUCK! I'm getting that blogger picture viewer thingie and it's awful. The pictures won't enlarge. Phooey.

Hannahx2 said...

Yes yes I know what that Hawaiian Punch is... I just wasn't sure what the one on the sign was referring to! Just being curious out loud :) I'm going to have to stop commenting first thing in the morning, I'm not really making much sense haha... lesson learned.

Major Pepperidge said...

Connie, I wish I knew why some people are getting the picture viewer thing. I'm still not getting it!

Brian, I wish I had visited the Nut Tree. Unfortunately, no such luck. You had me at "giant frosted cookies"!

JG, based on the vintage postcards you can see online, the Nut Tree was an amazing little place. And yes, I believe that most of the financial troubles occurred in the 90's. RATS.

bloefeld, I wonder if the fancy glass that you mentioned was unique to Sea World (or if it was even a unique Hawaiian Punch item)?

Chuck, I thought the same thing about the similarities to Knott's. Ha ha, the wall from "Laugh-In", I totally remember that. Sock it to me! Mustard on fries, that sounds very French, or Belgian, or Martian.

Hannahx2, you're just saying you know what Hawaiian Punch is to look cool! ;-)

Chris Merritt said...

Now that's the Sea World I remember! Any more shots to share Major - very cool...