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Disney’s California Adventure

The final day of our theme park marathon was at Disney’s California Adventure, located right next door to Disneyland.

There are plenty of regular amusement park rides, like the roller coaster and ferris wheel, located around a large pond. A lot of ducks seemed to live in the pond, and they are so used to all the people and noise that we saw several taking naps just inches from the speeding roller coasters.

While waiting in line for a “Flying over California” ride, there were interesting historical displays on the walls. Here’s one, whose title card reads:

Florence Low “Pancho” Barnes: A Star is Airborne
A stuntwoman, actress, animal trainer, and the only woman founding member of the stunt fliers’ union, Barnes was Hollywood’s most famous female pilot. She won the Women’s Air Derby in 1930 and broke Amelia Earhart’s speed record for women that same year. With Bobbi Trout, she started the Women’s Air Reserve to provide disaster relief to hard-to-reach areas. Her “Happy Bottom Riding Club”, frequented by test pilots from nearby Edwards Air Force Base, was immortalized in the movie The Right Stuff.

Beyond the amusement park rides were displays about California history. One large area was dedicated to agriculture in California, with a sequence of information markers.

The Planters. In the mid-1700’s, Spanish missionaries arrived in California, bringing crops from other lands. They also introduced cattle, horses, and plows. Instead of relying on nature, Spanish missionaries introduced European farming methods to feed their growing population.

Early Farmers. In the mid-1870’s, California farmers used gangplows, headers, threshers, and combines. Around 1900, the steam engine put horses out to pasture. In time, the internal combustion engine put the steam engine out to pasture. These mechanical innovations helped California farmers work the land with greater productivity. Surplus crops were shipped east to feed the rest of the nation.

Modern Farmers. Today, California farmers make use of modern technology bringing the laboratory to the field. Farmers strive for imaginative new ways to farm smarter, utilizing more efficient irrigation and lang management, while growing more, better and tastier crops. Golden State farmers now help feed people around the world.

City people going through the displays might end up with a slightly distorted idea of the equipment real farmers use, though :-).

“Cow”lifornia – Since the first herd of beef cattle was “moo-ved” to California in 1774, production of cattle and calves has become the 4th most valuable farm product in the state. With over one million cows producing milk, california is the nation’s number one dairy state.

For me, the most fun part of the park was the section that represented wild frontier California. Basically it’s a great big playground.

In a little trail through redwood trees were a series of carved statues showing native American myths.

Tol’-le-loo, the mouse. He played on the flute till the chief fell asleep then took back the fire for his people to keep. – Maidu legend

Catala, the bullfish. Coyote was swallowed by this fish bit by bit, because he taunted him and just wouldn’t quit. – Wintu legend

Kah’-kool, the raven. This devious raven, he smeared himself black so his prey coudl not see when he swooped to attack. – Miwok legend

Wel-keti, the frog. She swallowed the moon and because of her pride now every frog’s mouth is incredibly wide. – Maidu legend

I forgot to write down what the legend is for this beaver and dragonfly, but I like it anyway.

Wow what a week! My very favorite place was the Wild Animal Park; I’d love to come back sometime and spend two or three more days to see everything we didn’t have time for first time. Oh, and sign me up for a return visit to New Orleans Square and Frontierland in Disneyland too :-) Thanks for showing us a great time, Chris and Jen!

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