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Amusement Parks: Jungle Island – a Potted History

Jungle Island is a wildlife amusement park located in the heart of Miami, Florida.

The idea for the amusement park came from an Austrian migrant to the USA, Franz Scherr, who had begun life in his newly-adopted country working as a carpenter. His work involved him criss-crossing the USA and during this time, he fell in love with the sights and sounds of many a scenic beauty spot and its wildlife. 

Following a spell in Chicago where Franz worked in construction, the USA experienced its Great Depression and this prompted Franz to move his family to Homestead, Florida from where he carved out a new career preparing vegetables and tropical fruits for market. This led to him also opening a feed and supply store where he kept birds and it was this which prompted him to look for a place which would allow him to keep birds which could fly freely and so he rented some land and opened Miami’s own Parrot Jungle amusement park.

In the early stages in 1936, the amusement park took in 25 macaws which Franz had shipped in from Texas and this enabled Franz to charge 25 cents admission to the amusement park where visitors could listen to him describe his flowers, trees and, of course, his birds.

Today, the amusement park is home to more than 1, 100 tropical birds which are allowed to fly freely every day. There are also well over 2, 000 varieties of plants at the amusement park.

The amusement park’s ‘Winged Wonders’ bird show is reputed to be one of the best trained bird shows in the world. The amusement park also hosts two other shows – ‘Reptiles of the Jungle’ and ‘Tale of the Tiger’ featuring tigers, snakes and other reptiles. Other popular attractions at the amusement park include a pair of young orang-utans, baby red kangaroos and a fascinating creature called a ‘Liger’ which, as you might have guessed, is part lion, part tiger. 

The amusement park also has its own petting zoo and there’s also a 168 foot water slide, appropriately named ‘The Hippo’.

See also:
Amusement Parks: Wet ‘N’ Wild – a Potted History 
Amusement Parks: Weeki Wachee Springs State Park – a Potted History
Amusement Parks: Universal’s Islands of Adventure – a Potted History
Amusement Parks: Universal Studios Florida – a Potted History

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