Japanese Village and Deer Park

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Coordinates: 33°52′13″N 118°00′35″W / 33.8703361°N 118.009603°W / 33.8703361; -118.009603

The Japanese Village and Deer Park is a defunct amusement park formerly located in Buena Park, California.


The park first opened in 1967[1] at 6122 Knott Ave.[2][3] It was a Japanese-themed amusement park that featured shows and traditional Japanese buildings in an environment where deer roamed free (inspired by Nara Park). Its gate featured a torii.[4]

An episode of the detective drama Mannix, entitled "Overkill" was filmed there in early 1971.

The park closed in 1975 when it was sold to the Movieland Wax Museum. Facing mounting red ink, the owners began giving the deer lethal injections, claiming they had tuberculosis. Almost 200 were euthanized before authorities ended the practice.[5]

List of attractions[edit]

  • Koi ponds
  • Japanese Garden
  • Classic Tea House
  • The Dove Pavilion
  • Dolphin feeding
  • Home of the Fuji Folk
  • Pearl divers

Enchanted Village[edit]

After the park closed, a second amusement park, called Enchanted Village, opened on the site on June 18, 1976.[6] Animal trainer Ralph Helfer was a partner and served as chair. It was, for a time, home to Oliver the "human" chimp. Prior to its closure, its signature stunt and animal show was changed to incorporate themes and story lines from the 1977 film The Island of Dr. Moreau.

The 32-acre (13 ha) park was South Pacific-Tiki themed and featured trained animal shows (Helfer's influence), a traditional-styled Polynesian show, and a few ride attractions.

The park closed in fall 1977.

List of attractions[edit]

  • Bridge of Enchantment
  • Lost Island Theater
  • Amazon Cliff Divers
  • The Island of Dr. Moreau Stunt Show
  • Wilderness Theater
  • Noah's Ark
  • The Gentle Jungle Theatre

Current use[edit]

The area has been developed into a business park and nothing remains of the ponds and locations of the both successive parks except George Bellis Park.