August 28, 2008

Lion Country Safari: Irvine, California

Lion Country Safari existed in Irvine, California until 1984. Lion Country was founded and headed up by South African CEO Harry Shuster of United Leisure in 1968 and the first park opened in Florida in 1969. The second park in California opened in June 1970. In 1982, two years prior to closing the park, United Leisure opened a summer day camp, Camp Frasier to hopefully help offset the effects of low attendance. Meanwhile there was still no budget for maintaining the park and its deteriorating attractions meant the park's future was doomed. In 1984 with dwindled attendance and decrepit conditions the park closed. In 1982, During the final years of the park, a long bitter battle began between Shuster and the Irvine Company where the Irvine Company decided to renegotiate the 28 year lease on the land (which began in 1968) and try to take back control as nearby property values increased and the park was proving to be a financial liability.

Harry Shuster then became involved in a bitter and excruciating legal battle until 1997 when they finally reached a settlement. During the ongoing legal battle Shuster threatened to 'tear it all down' -- including Irvine Meadows (built on a sublease agreement with U.L., now
Verizon Wireless Amphitheater), Wild Rivers, and the day camp. His reasoning was, "I built all this on a firm 28 year lease agreement, why should the Irvine Company be allowed to take it from me just because they want it back?". A portion of the park's entertainment area was converted into the current water park Wild Rivers in 1986-87. The remaining portion of the park was left as Camp Frasier which continued until the early 1990s when it became Camp James. During the years of Camp Frasier the drive through reserve was used for horseback riding, archery, ATC, ATV riding and hiking. Lion Country was originally in the city limits of Laguna Hills.

August 25, 2008

Marineland of the Pacific Sky Tower Article: Wrecking Ball Punctuates End of Marineland Era

Marineland of the Pacific Sky Tower Article
Wrecking Ball Punctuates End of Marineland Era
Feb 17, 1988
LAT

For more than 30 years, the Marineland sign marked the main entrance to the aquatic park along the Rancho Palos Verdes coast.

Now, there is a new sign-that of the Cleveland Wrecking Co.-and a glance toward the sea tells why.

With a wrecking ball and pile drivers, a demolition crew on Tuesday began knocking down the main stadium-like aquarium where the killer whales Corky and Orky once cavorted before thousands of cheering fans.

Marineland of the Pacific Sky Tower

Since the Marineland of the Pacific Sky Tower stood abandoned for 10 years before it was finally taken down, it deserves a post of its own.

According to the Point Vicente Interpretive Center,

"The tower was taken down as it was a navigational hazard to aircraft. Vandals had taken all of the copper wiring and it no longer had a light on top of it. The City announced that it was to be taken down, hired extra people to man the phones for the complaints, and did not receive one phone call."

Abandoned Public Pool in Forest Falls, CA

We received a great photo of an abandoned public pool located in Forest Falls, CA from Valerie who lives in San Pedro, CA.
 

We will post more info as we get it.

Thanks Valerie!


2012 Update: An anonymous commented added the following information:


"Unfortunately, the cost of liability caused the closing of the pool."  "...it has been closed 40+ years."
See the comments before for the full message.