Jungle Larry's Safari at Cedar Point

Jungle Larry & Safari Jane and Son David with Python

The Tetzlaffs along with eldest son David and Python.

The Tetzlaffs eased into Cedar Point during the summer of 1964 with a Baby Animal Farm on the future site of the Earthquake Ride and today's Snoopy Boutique. The next season, the most authentic and extensive Jungle Larry attraction opened on Safari Island. A true island, the animals had to be rafted across the first season. The secluded wooded area provided a perfect jungle atmosphere for the animals. Midwesterners got close up looks at larger animals like zebras, eland, elephants, leopards, kangaroos, tigers, and even wolves. The cultural experience also included dancers and musicians from Africa.

Years of school presentations had honed the Tetzlaffs' presenting skills and year after year guests were entertained while being educated about conservation. Shows were frequent, often every hour on the hour. Cedar Point afforded the Tetzlaffs a large audience often reaching over a million guests a season.

Although committed to their summer audience, the Tetzlaffs wanted a warm winter home so the animals could be outside all year long. In 1969, they found their southern dream in Caribbean Gardens in Naples, Florida. For decades, they ran both operations concurrently.

Sadly, Larry passed away in 1984. Without hesitation, his wife and sons were determined to continue his legacy and Cedar Point eagerly welcomed them back that spring. The continuing success of the Safari was a tribute to both the family's commitment to Larry's vision as well as Cedar Point's faith in the Tetzlaff family's talents and hard work.

As the landlocked Cedar Point grew into the top ranked theme park in the world, Safari Island became part of the mainland and was eventually flanked by two roller coasters. During this same time, the city of Naples where the animals wintered had increased in size enough to support the zoo without subsidy from the Tetzlaffs' Ohio operation. Weighing the decisions carefully, the Tetzlaffs understood the time had come to focus all their efforts in Naples.

After a successful thirty year run, Jungle Larry’s Safari at Cedar Point completed its final season in 1994. The farewell was emotional for many. Today, the Power Tower operates on the former site of the Safari. The nearby gift shop is the only remaining structure from the former era. A close look at the black painted walls will reveal the naturalistic, simulated mud wall. The famous zebra-striped jeep no longer sports the wild paint job, but its now solid black chassis can be seen bearing ghoulish passengers during the park's HalloWeekends festivies. (Last seen near The Mine Ride in 2008).

Today fans can still enjoy the Jungle Larry vision at Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens in Florida.

Jungle Larry's at Cedar Point

©Jungle Larry's Ssafari Land, Inc