Saturday, December 08, 2012

Jungleland USA, September 1965

Jungleland USA! I'll bet not many of you reading this visited that little park full of lions, tigers, seals, elephants, and other critters. I was lucky enough to go several times, and remember it with great fondness.

Jungleland's Thousand Oaks location probably didn't help it, as T.O. is a good 30 minutes or more from Los Angeles. In order to draw more customers and compete with other more famous amusement parks in SoCal, a few simple rides were added. I love this excellent (and scarce) photo of  "The Jungle Flyer", a four-cylinder, gas-powered locomotive, built by Chance Industries (later called "Chance Rides", builders of many other amusement park rides. Isn't it great?

According to the "Images of America" book about Jungleland, the train could hold 16 passengers and "...circled around the park and through the monkey cage." Apparently Chance Industries built the train as a replica of the C.P. Huntington. Wikipedia sez, "Chance Rides began to fabricate their 24-inch (610 mm) gauge C.P. Huntington Train locomotive in 1960. It is a geared locomotive, similar to a Heisler locomotive, powered by a gasoline or Diesel engine. Its drive wheels are not powered, but roll on the rails and fake side rods reciprocate in and out of fake cylinders." Much of Thousand Oaks was pretty rural back in the 1960's, as you can see from this shot taken aboard the Jungle Flyer. 


Nanook said...

Yes, the Jungle Flyer is quite the train. And the significance of the Confederate flag proudly waving above the cow catcher-? I love the "tunnel" from which the train appears to be emerging.

Thanks, Major.

Rich T. said...

I'm bummed the train's not a real steamer, but that's okay -- it looks terrific! That trip through the monkey cage sounds kinda scary...

TokyoMagic! said...

Yeah, I was wondering about that Confederate flag, myself! The canopy over the train reminds me of the first Disneyland parking lot trams. And that tunnel looks a little rickety! I wish I had been able to see this place in person.

Chuck said...

The Chance Rides C.P. Huntington trainset - THE industry standard for zoos and small amusement parks across America. I've seen these popular trains at at least five separate locations myself, and seen their pictures in rest stop flyers for several more. The St Louis Zoo alone has four examples, and several are replacements of earlier models of the same locomotive. I had an opportunity to drive one a little more than a year ago, which I think I commented on (read "bragged about") here at the time.

As these photos were taken in 1965 at the tail end of the Civil War Centennial, it's not too surprising to find a Confederate flag on a replica of an 1860's locomotive. Also note that it's "boiler" (a rather dubious term for a diesel-powered replica) is painted grey. Was there a blue sister locomotive? Or perhaps there was normally an American flag on the right side of the pilot that just wasn't present the day the photo was taken.

Major Pepperidge said...

Boy, I hate it when I look at a blog post and find weird formatting errors! I fixed 'em this morning.

Nanook, I did wonder about that Confederate flag; I need to dig out my other photos of the Jungle Flyer (I have two more from a different lot) and see if the flag is there. And yes, that tunnel is "interesting"!

Rich T, I imagine the train passing through the monkey cage, and then emerging with no human passengers, but with monkeys in their place.

TokyoMagic! That tunnel really does look like it was put together by a few high school kids who stole some cinder blocks and lumber/scrap metal!

Chuck, I think that the "boiler" is actually painted a greenish color, though I know it is hard to tell. It did not even occur to me that 1965 would have been the 100th anniversary of the end of the Civil War! The St. Louis Zoo has FOUR trains?? Sounds awesome! I have a vintage photo of one that looks like the Viewliner I think.

Snow White Archive said...

Interesting pics, although the "engineer" looks bored with his job. The monkey cage pass-thru sounds intriguing.

Chuck said...

Whoops - my memory failed me. St Louis Zoo has four sets of passenger cars but FIVE C.P. Huntington clone locomotives.

I've seen pictures of the Viewliner/GM Aerotrain look-alike Zooliner, but I haven't been able to find out what happened to it. I know I don't own it.

Chance Rides is still manufacturing these babies, and they are available in gasoline, diesel, and propane-powered varieties. A company spec sheet is available at:

They also have a used 1969 model for sale at: Asking price is $20,000.00. Track sold separately.

Douglas McEwan said...

I barely recall Jungleland. I went there only once, when I was 11 or 12. I remember seeing a live animal show hosted by a guy who looked and sounded a LOT like Robert Armstrong in King Kong and I remember riding on an elephant and that's really all I remember of the place. Too bad it's so long gone. I live only a ten minute drive from there these days.

Yes, 1965, tail end of the Civil War Centennial, Confederate flags would have been more in evidence all over then. California, after all, was not part of the Confederacy and you don't generally see a lot of Confederate flags here, let alone see "racially-insensitive symbols of oppression" at tourist attractions that are trying to attract everyone.