Saturday, March 18, 2017
I have a few photos from the long-defunct "Lion Country Safari" in Irvine, California! The first LCS opened in Florida in 1969, while the Irvine location opened in 1970. At one point there were six LCS locations (!), but only the Florida example remains today.
The concept of Lion Country Safari was that it would be a "cageless zoo" in which guests could enjoy a safari experience from the comfort of their family cars. Here's a great shot of a giraffe; we're so used to seeing these on TV, but what amazing animals they are!
Awwwww! Two lionesses are probably tired of being stared at, and one has picked up her cub by the scruff of its neck. Totes adorbs. Let's open our car doors and see if they want to snuggle! (The Florida park finally had to put a fence between the animals and the cars in 2005, because guests refused to follow the rules about keeping doors and windows closed).
These next three are date-stamped "September 1970", so LCS was only a few months old at this point (having opened in June). The large building housed "Trader Robbie's African Curios". I wonder what was hidden beneath that ominous black tent?
As a kid, I thought these zebra-striped jeeps were about the coolest thing ever, and I was very jealous of the employees who were allowed to drive them.
I'm not sure what purpose was served by this pretty pond - maybe it was home to flamingoes. Or perhaps this was "Lake Shanalee", where one could take a hippo-shaped, leg-powered paddle boat.
Seems like a good time to repost this faded 1971 snapshot of my Mom, riding one of those hippo boats with my little sister and brother. It sure looks like Lake Shanalee!
By 1984, Irvine's Lion Country Safari closed, due to high costs and low attendance.