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When my family and I went through the Safari for the first time in 1974 I remember being amazed at the number of animals and how close they were to our car. I can recall it took us a very long time to get through it, probably over 90 minutes. When we reached the end of the Safari it felt much longer, almost like we had just experienced a full day of exploring. All pumped up and excited from our journey, I was really excited when I realized we still had the theme park to visit!

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I worked there in 74 and these pictures really capture how great the park was it's first season. keeping the elephants in line was a real trip and watching the rhinos gallop across the section, stop on a dime and turn directions was an amazing sight to see. all of the animals in the park really stood out the best the first couple of years.

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I worked there in 74 and these pictures really capture how great the park was it's first season.

 

We are happy to hear that Donald! When we filtered through our photo collection we wanted to make sure we used exclusively photos from the 1974 season in this Spotlight. That is why some of the pictures may have windows or rearview mirrors in them. Those aren't the best shots but we wanted to be authentic and also share pictures from the viewpoint of a visitor as well as a worker.

 

Hope this brought back some memories for you!

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It's a amazing how much larger cars were in those days. The interiors were spacious enough so that you could walk around as a little kid and take in the Safari from all sides of a vehichle.

 

I remember the motorized gates being a really exciting part of the Safari. It helped build anticipation for entering the scary and dangerous sections with the man-eatting cats.

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  • 5 weeks later...

The tigers liked to bit car tires. I saw a bear dry himself on the hood of a VW Beetle, Beetle lost. Elephants bumped into the cars all the time and were the first to be corralled off.

 

Vinyl tops on cars in the 70’s were attached with a banana oil based glue. You could remove and replace them with a heat gun.

 

Hot day + hot banana oil glue + baboon = “ I smell a banana here somewhere, just have to keep tearing.”

 

People would get out of their car in the big cat section all the time to get a better picture. It is truly amazing that no one was ever killed in the years that the cats roamed free.

 

 

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  • 11 months later...
  • 8 months later...

I recently read a flyer from the 1974 season which included a passage about the Safari. I found this interesting:

 

"If you drive a vinyl roof car through the Safari you do so at your own risk. If you do, please drive in the center lane through the monkey section without stopping. If you prefer to ride a bus through the Safari, which is $.75 per person extra and a must if you have a convertible car, follow the signs to the service area where you can park your car while you visit the Safari Park. Safari tickets are good for one visit only. Restrooms are located in the service area next to the Safari Park entrance."

 

It is funny that they instructed guests to "drive without stopping" in the monkey section! It also confirms that the "service area" (Safari Hospitality Center) dates back to 1974.

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