Marine World/Africa USA
Orca show at Marine World in 1970
|Location||Redwood Shores, California, United States|
Marine World/Africa USA was a tourist attraction located in Redwood Shores, California. The park was named Marine World when it first opened.
Origins of the Africa U.S.A. name
There were two successive Africa U.S.A. parks in California, both associated with animal trainer Ralph Helfer. The first Africa U.S.A. in California was created in 1962 as a 600-acre (2.4 km2) affection training compound by Ralph and Toni Helfer. It was located in Soledad Canyon near Los Angeles.
Ivan Tors first discovered Clarence, the cross-eyed lion, at Africa, U.S.A. and it inspired him to create the film Clarence, the Cross-Eyed Lion (1965) and the spin-off television series Daktari, which was partly shot on location there. Judy the chimp, another star of the show, was also owned by Ralph Helfer.
In January 1969, Africa U.S.A. was struck by a powerful storm over Soledad Canyon, which dropped large amounts of rainfall. The resulting severe flooding and mudslides in the canyons destroyed the compound, but only 9 of Helfer's 1,500 animals had drowned.
Marine World/Africa U.S.A.
The Marine World/Africa U.S.A. site occupied approximately 66 acres (267,000 m2) of reclaimed tidelands of San Francisco Bay within the confines of Redwood City. Numerous shallow sloughs, which have long been filled in, are known to have meandered across the property in its natural state. The general area of the site was diked off from the bay about 1910 and was used for pasture until about 1946 when it was converted to salt evaporation ponds.(Earth Metrics, 1969) The site was then cleaned and leveled, and between 1964 and 1965, received about two feet of fill.
Construction of Marine World took place between 1966 and 1968. Available topographic surveys indicate that surcharges of two to three feet were placed over some of the old slough areas prior to construction of the animal park.
Marine World opened in July 1968. The park was owned and operated by the American Broadcasting Company.
Ralph Helfer bought out Marine World in 1972 when it went bankrupt and added a wildlife park and "jungle theater", renaming the park as Marine World/Africa USA.
The park moved in 1986 to Vallejo, California, to eventually become Six Flags Discovery Kingdom. The land of the former Marine World/Africa U.S.A. is now occupied by the world headquarters of Oracle Corporation.
- Vasquez rocks and history of the first Africa U.S.A.
- The Shambala Preserve presented by The Roar Foundation
- Earth Metrics Inc, Environmental Site Assessment for the Marine World/Africa U.S.A. property, June 29, 1989
- Redwood City Public Library, Redwood Shores: A Short History, April, 1999
- The Beauty of the Beasts: Tales of Hollywood's Wild Animal Stars by Ralph Helfer, 1990