Saturday, May 30, 2020

Amusement Parks

I have a small batch of slides from various tourist attractions and amusement parks, and thought it might be fun to share a few of them today.

The first two are from a Florida amusement park called "Monkey Jungle". They are from 1964, which is when the U.S. was in the middle of the Space Race. Even chimpanzees got in on the craze, as you can see; this fella (I'll call him "Ham") is wearing a store-bought toy space helmet, and poses next to his vehicle made from a metal trash can. Just like the real NASA rockets! Looks like some trampoline action was there to simulate microgravity, and I see several bicycles nearby to simulate... um... bicycles in space?

Sure, baby chimps are cute, but I've heard stories of what an enraged chimp can do. Let's just say they are bad. This lady has no idea that she's in danger! The drum kit nearby was probably played by an ape. It had to sound better than those terrible Beatles, am I right?! Why don't they get haircuts!

And this last slide is dated "July 1972", and hand-labled "Geauga Lake". Two kids hang on for dear life on The Scrambler! According to Wikipedia, Geauga Lake was a theme park in Bainbridge Township and Auroroa, Ohio. Established in 1887... the first amusement ride was added in 1889, and the park's first coaster - later known as the Big Dipper - was built in 1925. 

The park was acquired by various companies over the years, and was even known as "Six Flags Ohio/Six Flags Worlds of Adventure" from 2000 to 2003. It was later bought by Cedar Fair, though the park (and its accompanying water park, "Wildwater Kingdom") struggled for years; today the park is closed, and Cedar Fair is trying to sell the land. A sad end to a historic amusement park.

This next one is a mystery. Yes, there's a double Ferris Wheel, which is pretty cool, and the slide is from the 1950's. But there's no indication of where this ride was located. Maybe YOU know?

I hope you have enjoyed today's random amusement parks!


Nanook said...

Monkey Jungle... it sounds like a dream come true. I want to see one of the chimps jumping on that trampoline.

Poor Geauga Lake. I have fond memories of visting there.

Thanks, Major.

"Lou and Sue" said...

2nd pic: LIB[rarians hug] the Monkey World (??)
Major, you're right about what chimps (even baby chimps) can do when upset. You wouldn't catch me holding one! I'd like to keep all of my parts, thank you very much.

We're finally opening up some stores and restaurants in Illinois, today. Happy Saturday, All!


The Space Chimp in the first imagine is standing like a human boy would when he would be tired of shopping with his mom and wants to go home!

I don’t know what it is , but I have never been fond of animal shows and acts .... maybe I’m a reincarnated Christian who was once fed to the lions in a Roman arena...??

Growing up in San Diego we had Sea World , the zoo and the Wild Animal Park ...but I think I liked the theming and atmosphere. I loved the Sky Tower, SKYRIDE, Sparklets Water Fantasy at Sea World but always felt sorry for the animals. The zoo had the Skyfari and a series of Goodyear Speedramps they took you up and down a Canyon thru a bird avairy .... and the Wild Animal Park has the Wagassa Bush-Line Monorail .... but the animals acts and shows - I had no interest.

I never got to go to Japanese Deer Park in Buena Park - I think as a kid I would have been dissatisfied- but I’m sure the Park was beautiful.
While my family went to Disneyland , Knotts and Santa’s Village often and maybe Magic Mountain maybe once every three years , we went to Busch Gardens once and I remember having to sit through a horribly long bird show. There was a boat ride , but the Monorail through the brewery had been permanently closed because of an accident and most of the other rides had been sold off. I think that park completely closed shortly after.

It is fun to see how many other themed places and attractions have come and gone ..... some fairly recently .

Melissa said...

What are chimpanzees doing in Monkey Jungle? They’re apes! I guess “Simian Jungle” just didn’t have the same razzmatazz. (Or maybe the chimps are just visiting!)

The smile of that one kid on the scrambler is totally making my morning.

TokyoMagic! said...

Yes, adult chimpanzees have been known to "rip" body parts off of people. Maybe it's their revenge against us, for making them do things like wear astronaut helmets and play the drums. Didn't Michael Jackson have to get rid of "Bubbles" because he was becoming more aggressive as he got older?

I wonder if "Rainbow Band" ever played at the Tomorrowland Terrace in Disneyland?

JC Shannon said...

Some of the smaller parks and mom and pop roadside attractions were so cool. The 50s and 60s saw a lot of these. Ham is quite the ham. Now I want to know where the double Farris Wheel is as well. Thanks to Major for today's scans. They are A Okay.

Andrew said...

Ahh... Geauga Lake. The park less than two hours from me that I never got to visit. In 2001, the new "Six Flags Ohio" (which added four new coasters when it opened in 2000) absorbed Sea World Ohio (There's a connection to Mike's comment!) on the other side of Geauga Lake, making the park Six Flags Worlds of Adventure. (Sea World and Geauga Lake had operated separately for years, although they worked together in marketing, and Sea World agreed not to add any rides.) It was the world's largest amusement park at the time. However, this massive scope was too much for a park in its location, so Cedar Fair bought it in 2004. They added minor additions, including making most of the old Sea World side into a waterpark, then closing the amusement park in 2007. The waterpark lasted until 2016.

Cedar Fair didn't close Geauga because it was struggling; they closed it to direct money, resources, and tourist traffic to their flagship park an hour and a half away - Cedar Point. They also were able to "harvest" some of the park's newer rides and transplant them to other Cedar Fair parks to market them as new additions. I've been on the Ferris wheel and Dominator at Kings Dominion.

What a fiasco - world's largest amusement park to wasteland in six years. This didn't have to happen. You hear all different things about what the land is going to become, from housing plans to a public park. We will see.

That's a great picture of the Scrambler! You can see the "Bell-Air Express" Monorail in the background, as well as the Big Dipper. The Big Dipper was the last ride standing at the park, but they just tore it down a few years ago. The footage is pretty sad. Also, you can see an Everly Fly-O-Plane peeking out of the shadows.

This is the kind of post I always hope for on a Saturday! Thanks, Major!

Chuck said...

Tried to go to Geauga Lake one evening in 1991. My then-girlfriend's stepdad gave us horrible directions and by the time we got there, the "after 5" admission would have been more like "after 7." We decided it wasn't worth it and went and did something else. That's a decision I really regret.

Sue, maybe now I can pick up that pair of pants I dropped off at Men's Wearhouse in March.

Thanks for the fun side trip, Major!

"Lou and Sue" said...

Chuck: And you’ll no longer have an excuse for going sans pants!

Omnispace said...

Chimpanzees were riding high in the 1960's culture. They reached Space before humans, and eventually became talented actors in movies. I love the landing pad trampoline in the Monkey Jungle show.

Geauga Lake must have been very cool with the monorail ride. I always liked Scrambler, though not when sitting outside of two friends trying to crush you. Ferris wheels were slow to load but it felt cool just to sit up at the top and be noticed.

stu29573 said...

Fun fact! My first "thrill ride" was the Scrambler! Granted, now it seems pretty tame, but as a kid, it was a great accomplishment!

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I call my home “Monkey Jungle”. It’s my “Graceland”.

Lou and Sue, I have no idea what that sign says, your guess is as good as any! Chimps are amazing animals, but they are strong, and they can fly thanks to their prehensile wings. No thank you. They’ve announced that some stores and barber shops might open soon, so I don’t need to buy that Flowbee!

Mike Cozart, I’m with you… I don’t hate animal shows, but they are very VERY low on my list of things to do. I know they did one at Magic Mountain, mostly birds if I recall. And Lion Country Safari of course. Just not my idea of fun. Yes, in San Diego (and especially in the larger domain of SoCal) you had TONS of animal-watching opportunities. Ironic I guess. I did go to Japanese Deer Park, and enjoyed myself, but I can’t say it was the most exciting thing in the world. Maybe it was just enough to be someplace other than home or school! I did like the bit when they made a koi smoke a cigarette. Good times. Bummer that you weren’t able to ride the Monorail through the brewery at Busch Gardens; my grandparents lived pretty close to that, so we went a few times. I’m sad that it’s gone.

Melissa, I also don’t like it when people call chimps “monkeys”, but then I am accused of being pedantic. “Lighten up! Who cares?”. I CARE.

TokyoMagic!, there is one particular incident with a woman getting attacked, it is so unbelievably gruesome. I won’t go into details here! But that was enough to scare me away from chimps, not that I will probably ever get that close to one anyway. I didn’t know that Michael Jackson got rid of Bubbles, I figured he had inherited a few million and was living in Encino.

Jonathan, I honestly would be so happy to have tons of photos from those mom and pop parks, the more the better! What a fun record that would be. I forget, did Ham return to Earth? Or did they leave him to orbit until he “went to sleep” like Laika the dog?

Andrew, I was wondering if you had experienced Geauga Lake! I had no idea that at one time it was “the world’s largest amusement park”, who knew. Bigger than Walt Disney World? Any time an amusement park closes, big or small, it is very sad. These places were there to make people happy. To make money too, but think of all the memories at so many little mom and pop parks. I’ve posted a few photos of some parks, such as “Hollywood Kiddieland”, and I still get emails and comments all these years later. Interesting that Cedar Fair basically let Geauga whither away. Thanks for pointing out those additional details, such as the Monorail track! I have more random amusement park slides, guess I should scan some for you.

Chuck, ah the days before our phones could tell us just how to get to anything! It’s a bummer you didn’t get in. How long of a drive did you endure?

Lou and Sue, I will be sad, because I really did have a perfect excuse to wear a kilt everywhere.

Omnispace, think of all those Disney movies that had chimps! It was weird. Did people really love them that much? “Monkeys Go Home”, “The Monkey’s Uncle”, “Toby Tyler”, “The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes”, and probably many more. “Swiss Family Robinson”? If you were a chimp wrangler, you were sleeping on a pile of money every night. And yes, getting crushed on the Scrambler is no fun. I also once sat in the wrong spot and spent the whole ride trying NOT to crush my young niece. I was exhausted at the end.

stu29573, gosh I have no idea what my first thrill ride was. I do remember a little roller coaster that went through some dark ride scenes, I’ll have to ask my older brother if he remembers where that was. Maybe the L.A. County Fair. I also remember a very small Ferris Wheel somewhere on the east coast, it certainly thrilled me at the time!

Chuck said...

Major, that "shortcut" on surface streets and back roads turned what should have been a little over an hour on the mostly-highway route I had plotted out on my road atlas into a two-hour-plus grind in stop-and-go city traffic. I eventually had to pull out the road atlas anyway when it became clear that the directions we had weren't going to get us where we wanted to go.

Sue, like I've ever needed an excuse...

Omnispace said...

Mike, Didn't the Wild Animal Park initially open with only the Wagassa Bush Line and some of the small animal exhibits in the main Village area? If I recall it was supposed to be a new-concept animal park. It was only later that they added the more conventional shows, but I may be wrong.

Major, don't forget one of my favorites: The Barefoot Executive! I haven't seen it in a while but I remember it being quite a stab at television programming.

I haven't kept track of Bubbles either. Perhaps he's now living in Tarzana?

Nanook said...


You think you get accused of being pedantic-??!! Some have suggested my middle name should be just that. (Although I'd have to change all the embroidery on my underwear...)

As for my first "thrill ride", it was most-likely the kiddie roller coaster (although there was no other kind) at Beverly Park.

Major Pepperidge said...

Chuck, well back in those days I know I had "bad" directions to places; I once had friends who moved out to Palm Desert, and I went to visit them... I got completely lost! I finally had to find a gas station pay phone so that I could call them an figure out where I'd gone wrong. I found one of my old trusty "Thomas Guides" a few months ago, those things used to be indispensable. Now... who needs it!

Omnispace, OH YEAH! I actually like a lot of those Disney movies from that era. I was especially fond of the Kurt Russell films, they were just what I wanted at that age.

Nanook, ha ha, I really do make an effort to not be too nit-picky, but sometimes I just can't help myself! Beverly Park, how cool that you can say you went there. It seems weird to me that my grandparents never took me there, but as far as I know it never happened.


Omnispace: the Wagass Buch-Line Monorail was the main attraction for many years - it took about an hour and 1/2 ... maybe a tad longer or shorter depending on how many times the operator stopped the Monorail for better view. The animals were in massive enclosure designed to look like their naturally settings and it was very difficult to see any kind of barrier. My dad liked to go on the Monorail towards the end of the day because the animals were so much more active then. I think every time I ever rode it was late in the day thru dusk and returned to Narobi Village at closing. We went it’s opening year for the first time - I think 1972 and I was excited about there being a “Monorail ride” and I recall thinking a Disneyland style Mark III Monorail would pull up but a two car boxy open Monorail pulled into the station very very quietly in tan, brown and orange. I miss those trains and the excursion thru the San Diego back country - the monorails were replaced with safari - trucks several years ago.

Major: a smoking Koi Fish !??? Was that in the Virginia Slim Magic Koi Fish Theater ?


Major: a smoking Koi Fish !??? Was that in the Yuell Brenner Magic Koi Fish Theater ?

Melissa said...

Gorillas Don’t Blog: We put the “antic” in “pedantic.”