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Discover New Jersey

Jungle Habitat: Exploring the History and Legacy of a Once-Thriving Safari Park

Updated: Aug 16, 2023

Jungle Habitat: Exploring the History and Legacy of a Once-Thriving Safari Park

Nestled in the heart of West Milford, New Jersey, Jungle Habitat was more than just a safari park—it was a gateway to an exotic world of adventure and wildlife. Let's delve into its fascinating history and uncover the story behind its transformation from a bustling attraction to a recreational oasis.

A Captivating Beginning

Opening its gates on July 19th, 1972, Jungle Habitat was an instant hit among locals and tourists alike. Owned and operated by Warner Bros., the park offered a unique blend of attractions, including a drive-through area where visitors could observe majestic creatures like elephants, giraffes, and Siberian tigers up close. The drive-through experience allowed animals to roam freely, often creating memorable interactions with visitors.

Two Distinct Sections

Jungle Habitat was divided into two distinct sections: the captivating drive-through area and a walkable section with smaller exhibits. While the drive-through provided an immersive encounter with a variety of animals, the walkable section featured a petting zoo, camel and elephant rides, a reptile house, and even a dolphin show. The park's sole amusement ride, the "Jungle Junction," offered a train-style journey through the scenic woods.

Challenges and Evolution

Despite its initial success, Jungle Habitat faced challenges with retaining repeat visitors due to a lack of new attractions. A proposed $20 million expansion project aimed to revitalize the park's offerings, but it met with mixed reactions from the local community. Ultimately, the park's inability to expand, coupled with nearby competition, led to its closure in the late 1970s.

Legacy and Transformation

After its closure, Jungle Habitat's legacy continued to capture the imagination. Abandoned yet fully intact, the park became a subject of rumors about roaming animals and exploration. The state eventually purchased the land, and in 2007, a collaborative effort transformed it into Long Pond State Park. Today, the once-thriving safari park is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, featuring biking trails, equestrian paths, and even hosting community events.

A Resonating History

Jungle Habitat's rich history resonates with the local community and wildlife enthusiasts alike. Its transformation from a beloved safari park to a recreational gem stands as a testament to the enduring spirit of the area. Walking through its abandoned enclosures and paths, one can feel the echoes of a bygone era when animals and visitors once shared an extraordinary connection.

Embrace the Legacy

Local Living celebrates the reimagining of Jungle Habitat's land as a place for people and nature to coexist harmoniously. The park's legacy lives on through the bustling events like "Rumble In The Jungle" and community celebrations such as "Thunder in the Highlands." Experience the magic of this revitalized space, where history, recreation, and wildlife converge.

Plan Your Visit

If you're yet to experience the allure of Jungle Habitat's transformation, don't miss out! Plan a visit to Long Pond State Park and immerse yourself in the stories that shaped this remarkable piece of local history. Get ready to explore the trails, enjoy the events, and relive the magic that once was Jungle Habitat. Get Directions


Sources, Thank you to the following for their images and information about this post:

Wikipedia - Information

Wikipedia - Logo Photo

Inside The Magic - Lion & Car Photo

Smaddy on Flickr - Post Card Photo

Weird New Jersey - Main Entrance Photo

Inside The Magic - Map Photo



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