A century ago this week, locals and out-of-towners came by the thousands to Ocean Beach on the Fourth of July to take a gander at the grand new $300,000 amusement park by the sea and its “1,000 New Thrills and Gayeties … Nothing but Motion, Mirth and Melody.”
Water slide, roller skating rink, carnival games, bowling alley, a zoo with 350 monkeys and the West Coast’s biggest roller coaster — Wonderland had it all.
Dancers in the Waldorf Ballroom had to keep their hands to themselves. Turkey-trotting, bunny-hugging and ragtime dancing were outlawed, and the rules were enforced by a chaperon from an association known for its skill at “suppressing vulgar terpsichorean exhibitions.”
No hanky and definitely no panky. Just good, “morally clean” fun. Like, say, joining 6,000 others to watch a man and woman get married in the zoo’s lion cage in 1913.
“The couple was in there with the lion, the lionkeeper — who only had a whip — and the justice of the peace. And they made it out alive,” said Jonnie Wilson, a board member of the Ocean Beach Historical Society.