I went to the Wild Animal Park for the first time knowing full well that the tram had been taken out, my last time there I was still in shock about it. But even knowing the tram is gone did nothing to blunt the wild anger I feel about it. It's not just the ride itself, although I had a lot of favorite parts, it's the atmosphere it created hearing it go by with the guide chatting on the microphone and seeing it overhead on bridges and stuff.
There were parts that were totally memorable like being overhead the lions, passing the gorilla enclosure right next to the path, going overhead on bridges and feeling like you've gone out into the middle of nowhere and that it's just you and a few dozen other people. I have so many memories of that tram, and each trip was different.
I somewhat understand why they took it out, it was malfunctioning and needed to be replaced. But why couldn't they have just built a new monorail set? Surely if they could do it in 1972, they could do it today. There are still many paths and bridges that sit empty, right next to the walking paths and it's as depressing as seeing the PeopleMover tracks.
That tram was more than a site-seeing excursion in the park, it WAS the park! It would be like Seaworld removing the Shamu show or Universal Studios taking out their tour or Knott's bulldozing Ghost Town completely. I wouldn't dare say like Disney removing its railroad or castle, but that's what it is like to me. I thought I'd get over it but it's just too big of a loss to just sit back and say, the two $10 trams are just the same.
The trouble is that park is owned by a nonprofit (not a conglomerate corporation) and trying to hurt the park by simply not going would only hurt the conservation cause and animals more than any greedy executives. I always make sure to find ways of spending LOTS of money there, even if I don't want to or can't find anything to buy, but they have gone too far this time. I'm still going to go of course, but I don't think the nostalgia or pain of seeing those empty paths and bridges is ever going to go away.
That park is just not the same anymore, the feel is completely different like Knott's Berry Farm compared to the early 1990's. No trip was ever complete without a ride on the tram and now that's not even possible. I haven't been on the new tours but I'm sure they can't go over the narrow overhead bridges and extremely close pathways next to the crowds. Does anyone know if these new tours are any good?
Wild Animal Park is one of those rare animal parks where the focus is actually still on the animals. I could sit and watch the birds at that park for hours, I truly hope they don't ruin that by installing endless thrill rides like Knott's, Universal and Seaworld have done over the past decade and a half.