Sunday, February 19, 2006

Skate Ranch in Santa Ana

Skate Ranch - Santa AnaIn Santa Ana, just off of Main Street and along the I-5, there was the Skate Ranch.

It was rollerskating rink built inside of a red barn-looking structure. It was all meant to be in western-style decor. I only went there twice during the middle and late 1980's.

But you could never not notice it. From the freeway, it was always visible, big and red.

In the two times I went there, I took girlfriends. It was a great excuse to get close and hold hands.

I'll never forget the last time I went there. I was with my future wife. I believe it was a Tuesday afternoon. It wasn't very crowded at all. After about 15 minutes of skating, it dawned on me there no other women, except for my wife. I mentioned it to her. But after looking at everyone, I finally found a another guy and gal skating together. But when I skated by them, I soon discovered the guy was actually a girl also!

It turned out it was Gay Day at the Skate Ranch.

The Skate Ranch finally got tore down, in the early 1990's I believe. The Children's Discovery Museum replaced it.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Movieland Wax Museum Closing Down

Movieland Wax MuseumI received a note from David Valdez, a reader of ours, saying that Movieland Wax Museum is closing down and moving to San Francisco.

They are going to auction off their wax figures on March 11, 2006, on location. The museum opened in 1962 and was founded by Allen Parkinson and later sold to Six Flags.

I remember going there with my dad in 1978. I don't remember too much about it. Maybe Knott's can buy some of the wax figures and create a small wax museum in their Roaring Twenties area?

They're auctioning off everything...

  • wax figures of celebrities

  • all props and sets

  • chandeliers

  • fine art

  • marble carved actual replicas of Michaelangelo's "The David" and "The Pieta"

  • celebrity photos

  • furniture

  • display cases
You can buy their complete Star Trek set!

Got any memories of Movieland Wax Museum? Post a comment!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Alligator Farm in Buena Park

Did you know there was once an alligator farm in Buena Park?

It was adjacent to Knott's Berry Farm on La Palma Ave. The Radisson Suites Hotel now sits on the old spot. I always wanted to go there, but my folks would never take me there.

We collected a few alligator farm memories from folks during the old days of OCThen, and posted them below...
By: Chrissey, 20 Aug 2002

The alligator farm was fun, but they scared me. The alligators were very quiet and had a harness on him and people would sit on the alligator and have their pic taken. Both the Alligator Farm and Knotts seemed so far away from L.A.

By: Pat Swift, 9 Aug 2002

I remember taking my son's there (Alligator Farm). We were amazed at how a snake felt. We were always interested in the alligators but watching how fast a cobra or rattlesnake could strike was the main attraction for us.

By: Ross, 13 June 2002

Being there when I was about 6 or 7. I am now 48, I have had a facination with alligators and crocodiles all my life. I currently live in Boise, Idaho and have 2 pet american alligators (Forest and Bubba). I remember my mom taking me and my brother there it had to be like 1960 or 1961, they had baby gators for sale in the gift shop, and of course I wanted one, but didn't get one. But, I was trying to figure out where a Southern California kid would develop and interest like this. I was talking to my dad and he said he remember the Los Angelos Alligator farm in Lincoln Heights LA, well I did some research and sure enough it started there in like 1905, and then moved to Buena Park, where it was until about 1986. Anyway, I wish I could have gone there as an adult before it closed. Little trivia, they moved all the gators and crocs by private Boeing 707 to an estate in Florida owned by the inventor of Naultilus workout equipment!

By: John Nemeth, 15 Jan 2002

What a great place if you were a herpatologist. They had almost every species of crocodile, many rare species that are seldom seen. The place was always deserted, not well known as a popular tourist attraction. They did snake shows with cobras.

By: Mark Wallace, 31 Dec. 2001

Remember the Alligator Farm across the street from Knott's? This was such a great creepy place that had been there forever. Full of giant alligators, croc's and tortoises, snakes and lizards. I still have dreams about this place eventhough it was torn down years ago.
Do you have any memories of the Alligator Farm? Post a comment below, and share it with us!

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Golden Bear Nightclub in Huntington Beach

Growing up in Orange County, my family often packed up the family van on weekends and headed down to Huntington Beach to spend an inexpensive day of family fun at the beautiful beach. My parents used to comment on the Golden Bear Nightclub (opened in 1929) on 306 Ocean Avenue whenever we'd pass it, because it was so famous, and the host to so many of the performers they listened to as teens in nearby Norwalk and Santa Fe Springs. I always dreamed of getting to go there myself once I became an adult... But I never got the chance.

I was appalled when this county landmark closed in 1986 to make way for the downtown redevelopment of Huntington Beach. The Golden Bear was as synonymous to Huntington's rich beach culture as is surfing itself. The beaches of Huntington are still beautiful, but I rarely go now(choosing more quaint and laid back San Clemente or Laguna instead) because I don't like what I see there anymore. It's far too commercial and yuppified now.

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