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Upallnite

Free Range Monkeys

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I want the free range monkeys back. Yea you took a risk with your car and people need to be more careful about running them over but nowadays if you even toss a banana at them your instantly covered in zebra striped trucks threatening to boot ya out of there. To me as a kid I was stoked just to get to that section. They were the best. Now its more like the zoo not a safari . Sad times. Just my opinion. :TwoCents:

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Unfortunately too many of the monkeys were getting injured by guests as well as causing damage as they became more aggressive from feedings.

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That is what the gate and escape road was for. If you did not want to take that chance you had your way out . Set mah monkey FREE !!!

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LOL :lol:

 

Unfortunately no matter how many times you tell people not to feed the monkeys and that they may damage cars, lawyers will always find a way to sue for damages to vehicles or injuries caused by monkey bites.

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A sign of the times unfortunately. The monkeys being out would certainly be nice, but it's probably best for both parties that the park does things the way they do. We can still enjoy the monkeys and they can still get our attention, but neither needs to worry about harm coming to them we hope at this point.

 

And yes stupid people do ruin anything fun most of the time. And when they get in trouble for ruining the fun their lawyers get involved. Can't we get like a no stupid people admitted sign on the Safari :)

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Whats better than a monkey full on rippin into a banana while sitting on your moon roof? FULL MONKEY EFFECT!

Edited by Upallnite

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Y'all forget that back in the 70's cars had Vinyl roofs and the glue was what the Baboons smelled and liked to get too. I saw many cars get the vinyl roofs ripped in many places from the Boons tearing them up. I also had quite a few cars tore up in rain storms from the rhinos playing . The people would drive up to watch a pair spar and then one would turn to run away and run smack into a car fun of scared to death people. At the World of Animals Safari Park in Dallas, that I worked at and many of the animals includeing the six largest rhinos came from , the gateguards used to put rubber snakes on the roofs of the vinyl tops and they worked for a while until a couple of Boonies got smart!

Edited by Gary Hill

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Driving through the monkey area was always my favorite part of the safari. It's a shame so many people broke the rules and tried to feed the monkeys and other animals.

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Just found this site. So glad I did.

I was the first warden in the monkey jungle, I didn't realize that the monkeys were no longer free roaming. That's a shame. I got the job the 2nd or third day that the park was open. The warden for the baboon section had trumped up his experience and when the park opened the baboon's ripped a couple of hundred vinyl roofs the first two days.

When I got the job I enlisted the warden from the sheep and goat section which was right before the monkey jungle. Winks had a great arm, he pitched in high school. There was never much going on in his section and mine was one of the more hectic ones in the park, especially on changes in weather. We would race around the section chasing monkeys off cars. At first it was pretty frightening, some of the males were very large and very fierce. But soon we learned who was who, we had 140 monkeys when we opened, there were probably about 10 that you had to watch out for. I remember one named Makumba who really didn't like me.

Like I said, Winks had a great arm, pretty quickly we were able to get them rock trained. You could stand sideways and look at them like a pitcher waving off signals from the mound and they would jump off, if that didn’t work you would start your windup, lol. We quickly progressed to where we would walk the section when there were problems. We carried the sawed off shotguns, which I think were Remington 801's, if I recall correctly, but we rarely had them out on foot, unless something really crazy was going on. We would use the white birch sticks that would be around when the monkeys tore up trees. There was lots of white birch and tons of vegetation when we opened, they were very straight and they made a nice club for protection.

We got really comfortable, walking around, talking to the monkeys, waving traffic on, our section was really popular and the park was super busy. People would stop and the traffic would start backing up... we were the last section, so it would create a cascading effect, which was a problem, especially with the double gates ,that operated like a loch, that were required at the beginning and ends of the predator sections, that ended on the other side of the sheep and goat section, one section up.

The whole safari park would sound like a bee hive. All of the wardens would be on their loud hailers... " all traffic must be moving, please keep your vehicles moving, all three lanes of traffic must be moving folks". and we would get out and wave them on. As long as they were moving the monkeys generally would not get on the cars. There were lots of times that you would walk up to a car to move a monkey off and someone would be feeding them through a cracked window. When you came up to the wrong monkey in that situation they would drop their top jaw down exposing large fangs and all the hair on their back and neck would stand up and their eyes would bulge and they would lunge at you and scream. You would have to go back and sit in your truck for a few minutes after that.

They loved to get in the back of pickups. I will never forget the day that the guy comes through w a bunch of eggs and produce etc in the bed of his truck. I will never understand how he got all the way to my section without someone warning him. I look over at the gate and all the sudden there were 30 monkeys in the back of this pickup and more running toward it and onions and potatoes and eggs were flying everywhere. Winks and I kept the ripped vinyl to a bare minimum, but the park still put a bypass road in the next year. Warner would always stop at the entrance to the section just outside the gate and wait for me to escort him through, he had these great pimped our Cadillac’s with tons of thick vinyl and the little lanterns on it etc and the straps on the trunk. He was so child like, always full of enthusiasm, " Hiiiii Ed" Hi Warner, and then he would roar through the section, the monkeys couldn't have gotten on his car if they tried. The monkeys loved the reflectors around the tops of the Winnebago’s too. They would take off the orange covers and then pull out the lighbulbs and eat the thin glass, I kid you not. Our gate man stationed at the exit kept a big box of the covers, from previous encounters, and they would meekly offer them up to offended parties as the exited our section on their way to the theme park.

We had the time of our lives , Winks and I and all the other warden's too. When the monkeys would get out they would call us from the theme park. I had one monkey that loved to escape and the he would go up and sit on top of the Giant Tee Pee and the people would go buy the top, on one of the roller coasters, and there was that monkey sitting there. I would take my truck and go over there and assure everyone that it would be all right. lol, there was nothing I could do, the monkeys came back when they were good and ready. But they always came back. They are very social animals and as long as the mothers and babies and there bud's were in the section they would come back before too long.

They also like to go up to the second fence in the tiger section that was just one section away, on the other end of Wink's sheep and goat section. The tiger sections had a double line of fencing that was about 10 feet apart, wide enough to get a truck in. The first fence was 8 ft and the second fence was 10. We had cats jump the 8 ft fence but never the 10. When they went over the 8 ft fence you could run a truck in one end and flush them back into the section on the other end. Lion 17 was Canadian named Leonard, these were Siberian Tigers, beautiful animals. Leonard was a pretty particular guy. He always kept his truck real nice and he ran a great section, and was usually in a good humor, except when one of my monkey's was sitting on top of the 10 foot fence screaming at his tigers and making them try to jump the fence.

Like I said they always came back. But then there was the day when the bus grazed the uprights at the entrance gate to the section. We had 10 feet of cyclone fencing around our perimeter, and then 8 feet of sheet metal. When you closed the gates it was all flush. After the bus hit the gate we jacked it up and worked on it as best we could. I had Butch and Charlie come look at it and we even went as far as putting grease on the seam in case they tried to get out. I will never forget driving in the next morning. The first thing we did every morning was drive through the section and drive the perimeters to check on the monkeys and the fences. When I drove in that day there were hardly any monkeys around. The further I got the more concerned I was.

As I came up on the entrance gate that had been hit I saw lots of piles of monkey dung and finger prints all over the seam. At the same time my radio lit up, " come in Lion 19, I’ve got moneys in the American section, come in Lion 19, I've got monkeys in the African section, come in Lion 19, I've got monkeys in the rhino and elephant section. There was 115 monkeys out! and that's a problem! Because a large number of Mom's and babies are along for the ride and they might just decide to leave the park, as there was no sheet metal anywhere out forbidding their movement and that might just decide to head toward town and establish residency at the farmers market. The corporate higher up's were definitely a bit nervous. What a great day that was! More later

Edited by Ed Chiles

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Sounds like a huge mess. It must have been a nightmare rounding up all those monkeys. Also those old vinyl roof cars are a pain to restore. The car makers often had poorer bodywork under the vinly that has to be corrected.

Edited by The Master

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Just found this site. So glad I did.

 

Welcome Ed! It is great to have you join us! :)

 

I LOVE hearing stories like these. The Safari really seemed like a huge classroom in the early days. It sounds like there was a lot of learning going on when it first opened. Any stories you can share are surely welcomed here.

 

Here is an early photo of the monkey section... hope it brings back memories!

 

gallery_2_43_1112341.jpg

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Thanks 29 yrs, great to find this site and reconnect. Please guide me to pictures from the first 2 years and any info on the wardens. I would love to get reconnected with them.

 

Thanks for the picture too. I have a great story about the day 5 big males tried to put me into the pond there.

Edited by Ed Chiles

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Thanks 29 yrs, great to find this site and reconnect. Please guide me to pictures from the first 2 years and any info on the wardens. I would love to get reconnected with them.

 

Thanks for the picture too. Have a great story about the day 5 big males tried to put me into pond there.

 

Ed, your best bet would be to post your info (position, years at the park, etc) in our Park Alumni section. The link for the Safari Alumni is HERE.

 

To be honest, we don't have as much stuff posted about the Safari Park that I would like to have... at least not yet! You can view our Safari Main Menu page to see what we hope to share in the near future. As for now, our Safari Construction Spotlight has the most photos featuring the Safari in its earliest days.

 

If you have any photos that you can share with us, we would appreciate seeing them!

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The monkeys loved the reflectors around the tops of the Winnebago’s too. They would take off the orange covers and then pull out the lighbulbs and eat the thin glass, I kid you not.

 

If I can ever find it, I have super 8 film from our first visit to the Safari where the moneys are doing just that.

 

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