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That last lion photo was in the second lion section. You can see the elephant/rhino to the left. Tommy Lear was Warden in that section.

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^ Were the lions divided into two different sections simply because of space limitations? By 1979, the second lion section was eliminated and replaced with an Australian themed area.

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I would suspect that they might of had wanted cheetahs or some other type big cat? I was so involved with getting my elephants settled in that I wasn't aware of what was happening with the rest of the park? When the idea of loose leopards backfired, the pens were made so people could actually see them IF they were in the correct lane driving. That could cause a bottle neck just as my ostriches would slow traffic. On really busy days I would have as many as 6 relief gate guards and my crew from the elephant barn on foot keeping the birds off the road. Yes were very busy in the beginning years!

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Here is an article from the January 1976 issue of Great Safari News, Great Adventure's first Safari Club newsletter. (click to view full size).

 

gallery_2_1_986877.jpg

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Here is an article from the January 1976 issue of Great Safari News, Great Adventure's first Safari Club newsletter. (click to view full size).

 

gallery_2_1_986877.jpg

 

Well, they got part of it correct! Kidogo, means Little Foot in Swahili, and the male was named Dino, after my middle name which is Dean. Press did and does what they want for the press. Even today they call, Squeaker, Squeak??????? Anyway, at least the elephants still have the names I gave them, 35yrs ago.

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^ The press can be very creative! :)

 

In the beginning, were the elephants and rhinos separated somehow? All the maps I've seen from the early years show one "Elephant and Rhino" section, yet I've never seen a photo with an elephant and rhino side by side without fences.

 

Today they have the elephants contained within the center of the section and the rhinos are free to roam all around the rest of the area.

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From the photos that y'all have posted, it seems that the elephants are in the same area they always were. I always had a man on foot with them, usually Donald. We had a very large hay manger in the middle that held 40 square bales of hay and we grained them there in the mornings. The rhinos roamed the whole section as did the ostriches. Donald kept the elephants from getting on the road and destroying the cars! They also would steal away from him and try to eat from the ostrich feeders that were full of feed also. I would watch from my truck and see one or two starting to sneak away , then before you knew it 15 would surround the feeder and be eating like crazy til Donald or one of the other guys came and ran them off. They spent alot of the days in the lake at the turn. Stripping tree bark was another pastime for them. Video soon I hope!

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^ Wow, so instead of a physcial barrier they were just kept in their area "manually". I always wondered about that.

 

Can't wat to see the video!

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I have the video inhand, BUT I need to take it back because the guy that made it messed up the order of reels! I will hope to get it done on Fri and then once I am happy with the order I will need y'alls help getting it on this site. I have over an hour of film and it is good! I had forgot about a couple of reels and they show the "Happy Feeling" petting zoo, minature village and alot of the park as it was the first year! I have some good footage of the show in the Great Arena, magic, jousting, chariot race with the wreak, stagecoach robbery, trick riding and much more. Dave McMillions tiger act that was in 78 when I visited from the Ringling Show in NYC. Y'all are going to love the shots with the animals also, as the Wardens all get into the act knowing I had a camera rolling. I actually showed all of them the film just before I left the park and moved back to Florida and the GSOE. Might add also that when you get to watch the film you will recognize the big male elephant, Rip when he was a smaller version of himself. Can't miss him with his ripped right ear and short tail. Stay tuned! Now someone that knows how to help me get all this on this site, give me some tips?

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^ That is FANTASTIC news Gary!!! All that footage sounds incredible! We'll be happy to assist you get everything loaded up for everyone to enjoy! I'll send you a personal message with some instructions. I can't wait to see it all!!! :)

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Heck, I even forgot that some of the footage is of a Highdiving event that was covered by one of the networks. It was during the winter and I don't know how the divers did it? Anyway , Leonard DeNault and his family are to my right , next to my girlfriend from back then. Her name is Patricia Haddock and she was the Kennel girl the first years. She is also in a few more frames, as we toured the park and the guys all acted goofy. Butch Dring is also in the frames of the highdivers, he is wearing his traditional black hat and is kinda hiding?

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^ It all just keeps sounding better and better!!! :clap:

 

Curious, was the kennel just outside the Safari entrance in the very early years (building in the photo below)?

 

20040012.jpg

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Thats where she worked, the signage looks differant?

 

Yep, during the early 70s it was just named the Kennels. When they added the Pet-a-Pet petting zoo to the park they renamed the kennels Park-a-Pet.

 

 

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I have a question about the up coming Reunion. Is the management onboard with this and are they going to do anything special for the exemployees? If I travel up there from Texas for a few days I really kinda expect the Park to "entertain" me while I am there? I did so much advertizing and hosting visiting people to my barn back then, that I feel I should get the same respect? Maybe once I get the final version of my DVD, which I will do the editing on tomorrow, Yeah! Someone from the head office might take a look? One can only hope they have it in them to do the right thing?

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I know management is involved with the reunion, but I'm not sure to what extent.

 

We can talk to certain people we know and see if some arrangements can be made.

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Sounds good, they should make a big PR deal out of it , I hope some of the other Wardens from the beginning get involved? I did some of the final editing today and hope the DVD will be ready for pickup Monday!

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I don't know them, uniforms are differant than ours were and the elephants are behind a wire fence. I don't know what year they did that? I did make contact with Mr Bill Rives, Director of Safari, and look forward to visiting with him during my trip.

Edited by Gary Hill

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I am not so sure it is 1977? The elephants have heavier ivory than they would have just a year later? The section also looks more aged?

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Hard to argue with facts. I enlarged the photo and the ivory doesn't look as large as it did in the smaller photos? My Bad! Still interesting that they put up an electric fence to keep the elephants off the road? I know cutbacks were another reason I decided to leave, they were making me take days off and were going to cut back on my helpers. These guys don't remind me of anyone there when I was tho?

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There should of been an ostrich feeder in the background of the bottom photo, to the right looking at the ostrich barn ? I also do not see the elephant hay feeder, but it could be behind the elephants. I do not know what that tall pole on top of the hill in the background is? I used to park my truck on that hill and could see my whole section except the gate entrance. I shot some footage in my video from that site. The large rocks that the elephants scratched on are gone also? The big pile of dirt I can understand was knocked down by the elephants themselves ,I'm sure from just playing in it.

Edited by Gary Hill

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