Home -> John J. Newbegin -> The Jewel City -> Chapter XX. The Joy Zone

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The Joy Zone

A mile of amusement places, many of which are really educational - The Panama Canal, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone Park and the native villages - "The 101 Ranch" - "Toyland Grown Up" - Other notable features.

The Joy Zone, nearly a mile in length, is a broad avenue bordered with closely packed places of amusement. There are more than one hundred concessionaires, with two hundred and twenty buildings devoted to refreshment or pleasure, including a few in other places on the grounds. Here are all sorts of divertissements, from roller coasters to really great educational sights like the Panama Canal or the Grand Canyon.

By common consent the Panama Canal is the most noteworthy feature of the Zone. Indeed, it ought not to be on the Zone. It should have had a place in the Exposition proper, as one of its finest exhibits. The show is a working reproduction of the Panama Canal, on so large a scale that it covers five acres. The landscape of the Canal Zone is faithfully reproduced, with real water in the two oceans, the Gatun Lake, the Chagres River and the Canal. The visitor sees it from cars which travel slowly around the scene, and which are fitted with telephonic connections with a phonograph that explains the features of the Canal Zone as the appropriate points are passed. Next to seeing the Canal itself, a sight of this miniature is the most interesting and instructive view possible of the great engineering feat. In one way it is even better than a trip through the Canal. It gives the broad general view impossible from any point on the Isthmus itself.

In much the same class are the reproductions of the Grand Canyon and the Yelllowstone Park. The Grand Canyon has an added interest in the presence of Navajo and Hopi families living in reproductions of their desert homes. Representing other native races, there are the Samoan Village, the Maori Village, and the Tehuantepec Village. All these people are genuine and live in primitive style on the Zone, though, to tell the truth, they are quite likely to use college slang and know which fork to use first. Not on the Zone, but proper to be mentioned here, are the Blackfoot Indians brought to the Exposition from Glacier Park by the Great Northern Railroad. Eagle Calf is a real chief of the old days, and his band is a picturesque group.

There is Toyland Grown Up, a product of the astonishing genius of Frederic Thompson, creator of Luna Park, covering nearly twelve acres and packed with Thompson's whimsical conceptions of the figures of the Mother Goose Tales, Kate Greenway's children, and soldiers and giants, and the familiar toys of the Noah's Ark style-all on a gigantic scale. Japan Beautiful, a concession backed by the Japanese Government, has many interesting features, including the enormous gilded figure of Buddha over the entrance and a reproduction of Fujiyama in the background. Then there is an Antarctic show entitled "London to the South Pole;" the Streets of Cairo; the Submarines, with real water and marine animals; Creation, a vast dramatic scene from Genesis; the Battle of Gettysburg; the Evolution of the Dreadnaught; and many other spectacles and entertainments of many classes, but all measuring up to a certain standard of excellence insisted upon by the Exposition. The Aeroscope, a huge steel arm that lifts a double decked cabin more than two hundred and fifty feet above the ground and then swings it around in a great circle over the Zone, is one of the thrillers.

The Joy Zone has suffered from the excellence of the Exposition to which it is the side-show. The Exposition itself is so wonderful a sight and contains so vast a number of remarkable and interesting things that multitudes have been content to stay with it, too much engrossed to find time for any but a few of the best things on the Zone. No better evidence could be found of the beauty, interest and value of this Exposition.

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