Animal attractions have long been a part of theme parks and amusement parks, often featuring "petting zoos" where smaller, gentler animals that people could feed, touch, and interact.
|One of the park's original themed areas offered a place for guests to get up close to an array of animals which offered opportunities to pet and feed them. The idea evolved from the earliest plans for Great Adventure and was included in the refined plans for the Enchanted Forest theme park.
|Happy Feeling had an
array of animals in its beautiful wooded setting which featured a
meandering man made waterway flanked by fieldstone walls. Swans and ducks swam along the waterways while
goats, llamas, antelope, deer, chickens, and macaws all coexisted with
families who interacted petting and feeding them.
The entrance to Happy Feeling was marked by a large yellow overhead banner shaped sign with double white picket fencing to lessen the chance of any animals escaping the area. To the right of the entrance was a small stand featuring a wrap around counter and a storage area which sold animal feed for 25 cents. The food pellets were sold in a wafer ice cream cone which could also be given to the animals to eat.
|The whole Happy
Feeling area was simple and very "low tech", but perfectly fitted within
the concept of the Enchanted Forest's idea of blending into the natural
environment. It was also a complement to the Safari section of the park
which featured such a wide variety of big non-pet-able animals.
The Happy Feeling attraction was expansive stretching from the Fountain all the way to what today is the entrance to the catering area next to the Showcase Theatre. It was so large that it was common to see the familiar zebra striped Safari trucks being used to transport hay and supplies from one end of the site to the other.
|One of the unique features of Happy Feeling was the Snake House which was a glass enclosed showcase for seventeen pythons. Unlike the rest of Happy Feeling, there was no touching or feeding of the inhabitants of the Snake House- just safe viewing behind the windows. After Happy Feeling was closed the Snake House would be the only thing kept, repurposed as The Mad Hatter hat stand.
|After Happy Feeling closed, a similar Pet-A-Pet attraction would be added on the other side of the park in the Kiddie Kingdom area which opened in 1976.
|Happy Feeling was featured on two of Great Adventure's early postcards, one featuring two of the llamas, and another featuring some of the deer being fed by a little girl. Both showed how heavily wooded the area was with a dense stand of trees in the background.
|Original Spotlight: January 13, 2009; Updated: July 28, 2023. GAH Reference#: ATTR-1974-008