An Old Age Home for Chimpanzees



As the police finished up their investigation outside, the newspaper reporter and I talked for a little while. I told him that we were retired carnies and he told me that he had worked for the World of Mirth Shows a few years before.

Then I asked, "Have you ever been over to Tarpon Springs to the
*Noah's Ark Zoo? Those folks are old carnies too. They've got gorillas, chimps, orangutans, baboons, monkeys, alligators and tropical birds." He asked, "Real live gorillas?" I replied, "They sure do."

He said, "Heck, I didn't know that! I'll have to run over there and take a look sometime." I then told him, "If you do, tell them that May and Fats Usher told you about them and it won't cost you a penny to go in."

Then as an afterthought I added, "By the way, Tarpon Springs is the only town in America that has an old age home for chimpanzees. When they get too old to work the acts in the circuses and carnivals, they retire them to
*Noah's Ark." He checked his watch and said, "Gotta go! I'll talk to you later."

The following Sunday's edition, there was a two page article, right in the center of the tourist section, showing the zoo. There was Bob with Tommy, the gorilla, along with Mae with the orangutan and pictures of the chimps. The headline read, "Tarpon Springs, old age home for primates' and went on to tell about the abandoned chimps and so on.


Later on, Bob and Mae made a special trip to Tampa just to thank us. Bob said, "After the newspaper publicity, the schools started bringing busloads of kids from Tampa and the surrounding counties, to see the zoo."

Mae chimed in saying, "Fats, you really put us on the map and you don't know how much we thank you. Anytime you guys run out of money and don't have any place to go, remember that you're welcome to park your trailer inside the compound for free. There are electric, sewer and water hookups just for that."

I replied, "Thanks, I know we can. We hope that you guys make a ton at this."


in the article that it referred to the zoo as Noahís Ark Zoo, I donít know if itís a type o or the guy gave you the wrong name.  *In his book Endangered Species William T. Usher refers to the Zoo as Noah's Ark - In her book Gorilla Show,  Mae Noell called it Noellís Ark.  Noellís Ark Zoo or Chimp Farm was the permanent sanctuary for the retired apes. 


To be Continued


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