Sunday, July 8, 2012

I know it's not a postcard, but picked up a neat old travel souvenir this morning. 

It is a souvenir glass bowl, with ruffled edges. It measures approx. 7" across. It was made in the 1970s for the long gone amusement attraction called "Warner Brothers Jungle Habitat" in West Milford NJ. It has super graphics of all the displays including "Gerald The Giraffe", "Curious Bear", "African Dance Troupe", "Baby Elephants", "Kemo The Porpoise" and "Traffic Jam". Front of plate reads "Warner Bros. Jungle Habitat". I remember going here as a kid, and loved the lions that would come up to your car and sometimes lay on your warm car hood! The baboons were also a favorite of mine, climbing on board our station wagon and sometimes peeling off the wiper blades! Great Adventure here in Jackson is similar, but you can no longer get close to the more dangerous animals!  

Here's a little history... 

Jungle Habitat, located in West Milford, New Jersey, was a Warner Brothers-owned theme park that opened in the summer of 1972, and closed in October 1976. The park contained well over 1,500 animals, a drive-through section and a walk-through section. A favorite was a drive-through safari section, which allowed for wild animals to roam free and approach vehicles as they slowly drove through. Many of the animals would climb atop the cars, bringing them to a halt, and signs were posted along the route to warn visitors to keep their windows closed. Great Adventure in Jackson Township, New Jersey, approximately 100 miles to the south, also had a similar type of drive-through safari attraction. The walk-through section was a small theme park which included a petting zoo, camel and elephant rides, snack bars, gift shop, reptile house, dolphin show, Bugs Bunny and Friends shows including live Warner Bros. Looney Tunes characters, and a small train station and ride-on train called Jungle Junction. The park did not have any amusement park rides, although there were plans to add them in the future. Shortly after the park opened, a tourist driving through the safari in a taxi was attacked by two lions, bringing negative publicity to the park. In 1974, a woman was bitten by a baby elephant who had reached out of its enclosure with its trunk and grabbed the woman. The park was plagued by problems, including reports of dangerous animals escaping into the town of West Milford. In addition, the increase in summertime and weekend traffic on West Milford's roads created problems for local residents. The park would close in 1976 due to these problems and more.   

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