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Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Christmas Island
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Paradise Park, Hawaii
Old 07-01-2009

Paradise Park was a Bird Park on Oahu, Hawaii, which I visited in 1987. Located in the upper Manoa Valley it covered about 47.5 hectares much of it of lush natural tropical rainforest (this figure may be an under-estimate). Some areas of the park were planted out with rainforest species - so much that it was more like a botanical gardens with aviaries than a bird park. The park closed in 1994. Since then, there appears to have been a lot of interest in purchasing the park, but all deals appear to hae fallen through. Scenes from the TV series 'Lost' have been recorded here in recent years.

Although it was more than 20 years ago, and I've forgotten most of my visit, there are a few strong memories.

The entrance to the park was via large square concrete building, three stories high with walkways around the edges of the building and a large void in the centre. This structure was roofed and wired. Dead trees and logs were fixed at various points in the building and it housed an impressive number of macaws - Military, Greenwing, Scarlet and Blue-and-Gold.

There were tours through the rainforest, which were informative and educational, focused on the plantlife.

Aviaries, that were probably built in the late 60's when the park opened, were hidden amongst plants, and tended to concentrate on the larger parrots.

And then there was the Duck Show.

This was advertised in their brochure, along with other tours and talks, and so I thought it would be interesting to see a show with trained ducks - quite different to all your other wildlife shows that you see in zoos.

I've spent more than 30 years visiting zoos and fauna parks around the world, and in that time I have NEVER seen anything as bad as the Duck Show.

I've added comments about how bad it was to one of the pics I uploaded, but I'll elaborate a bit here.

Firstly, it wasn't meant to be educational, it was meant to be funny. For me, it wasn't even funny - just insulting to my intelligence. I must admit, however, that some other visitors seemed to find it amusing. Or maybe they were laughing out of politeness or embarrassment.

The difference between this show and other non-educational shows I've seen at various Seaworlds (where they make up some stupid fantasy story with seals or birds) is that at Seaworld the animals are well-trained and rewarded during the show. The lengthy training process, and the regular performances are enriching for the animal. And the scripts/plots usually have shown some effort by whoever created the show.

The Duck Show had none of that (at least, as far as I could ascertain).

The ducks, a group of domestic varieties (we were told their scientific name was Donald duckus) were content in their pool in front of the stage. The 'host' of the show, a girl in a silly Toucan cap, with a long stick would slap the water nar the ducks to get them to leave the pond, then with using the stick would chase them through the vegetation at the back of the stage, using the stick to direct the ducks onto various paths. One path would lead to a large hollow log at the side of the stage and by running through it the ducks would pop out the other end back into their pond. Another led to a large stone Tiki and the ducks would pop through it's open mouth, again back to their pond. The third took them up a mountain where there was a water slide that led back to the pond - the idea was the ducks would slide down all the way to the pond, but most flew back down. And all the while you could hear the 'host' calling out "Ducky ducky ducky! Ducky ducky ducky!"

There was also a poor bantam that, the 'host' assured us, could play the piano. In between duck chasing the bantam was pulled out of her cage and put in front of a toy piano where she did nothing. So we'd go back to chasing ducks again. In the end lots of grain was put on the keys of the piano, but the chook still remained uninterested.

In all fairness, the animals were traumatised in any way, they were being managed the same way they are on farms, and grain or pellets were scattered in thewater regularly (maybe to keep the ducks from wandering off and doing their own thing). I just wasn't impressed at all.

These are just my memories from one visit, and they might be a little biased. Hopefully, there are members of this forum that also remember visiting Paradise Park in the past, or maybe even members from Hawaii who had been there several times and can update us as to what's happening with the park today.


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