Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Postcards: Japanese Village & Deer Park

As the California Alligator Farm once operated in Buena Park, California, so too did another zoological park, The Japanese Village and Deer Park. As a child, I visited the Deer Park many times and enjoyed wandering through the deer compound and feeding its hoofed inhabitants. Along with the animal exhibits, the park was also a Japanese cultural center. Visitors could see demonstrations of martial arts, visit a tea house, eat Japanese cuisine and buy some Japanese crafts as souvenirs.

The surrounding area of Buena Park that hosts Knott's Berry Farm was once home to a number of tourist destinations that offered a different experience than neighboring Anaheim's Disneyland. Along with the still operating Knott's Berry Farm, visitors also had their choice of going to The California Alligator Farm, The Deer Park, Movieland Wax Museum and Ripley's Believe It Or Not Museum. The four aforementioned businesses are now closed and long gone. The Wax Museum's building is still standing with a Starbucks operating out front in what was once the Museum's stand alone gift shop.

Like so many other roadside curiosities, oddity museums and tourist parks across the country, economics, shifting attitudes and corporate take-overs have been the death nail to a plethora of alternate cultural experiences.

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