a.k.a. I.Q. Zoo
Location: Mother Gooseland
Produced By: Animal Behavior Enterprises – Hot Springs, Arkansas
When Mother Gooseland opened in 1956, it featured many different buildings and decorations depicting different stories from popular nursery rhymes. One of these was a pumpkin shell (from the story of Peter, Peter Pumpkin Eater) which housed a refreshment and souvenir stand.
The I.Q. Zoo opened at Lagoon in 1961. Kids could insert coins which activated flashing lights. The caged ducks and chickens were trained to respond to the light and were rewarded with a treat when they would “pound a drum or play baseball”.
These devices were built by Animal Behavior Enterprises (A.B.E.) in Hot Springs, Arkansas where the real I.Q. Zoo was located. Here’s a bit about the company’s beginnings as related by John Clowers, who has a special connection to the company:
“I.Q. Zoo was a real tourist attraction started back in 1955 by Dr. Keller Breland and his wife Marian. The Brelands were students of B.F. Skinner and applied his behavior modification to animals to create new training of every kind of animal. There would be no animal shows in Parrot Jungle, Marineland, Sea World, Disney or anywhere else for that matter, if these training techniques weren’t pioneered by the Brelands. Some people think that the first dolphin training was done in Florida or California, but it was done in big tanks . . . on Ridgeway Boulevard! A.B.E. received government funding back then and most of the behaviors developed were to be secretly applied in wartime with animals saving men’s lives.”
The sign in the photo shows the name “Peter’s I.Q. Zoo” which was most likely a tie-in with the nursery rhyme the pumpkin represented.
The attraction most likely closed before 1964 when it is assumed the pumpkin building was moved inside the center of the nearby Kiddie Coaster (where the Hi-Land Playland opened that year). One reader remembers it being used for storing cleaning supplies there in the early 1970s. This is unconfirmed, however. If you have any memories or photos of this building, please comment below or contact me using this form.
MORE FROM LHP
More about the original I.Q. Zoo
Double The Fun At Lagoon, It’s Party Time. Deseret News, 12 Jun 1961.
Whirlwind Update and More. Email message to author, 20 Oct 2005.
RE: Haunted Shack Gorilla. Email message to author, 9 Mar 2011.