A Postcard from Africa U.S.A. In the spring of 1953 in Boca Raton, Fla., a determined entrepreneur named Jack Pedersen opened Africa U.S.A., considered to be the first cage-free live animal park in the country. The park attracted up to two thousand visitors a day but closed after only 8 years. Pedersen's granddaughter is working to keep his dream alive.
NPR logo

A Postcard from Africa U.S.A.

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1546809/1547583" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
A Postcard from Africa U.S.A.

A Postcard from Africa U.S.A.

Pioneer of Wild Animal Theme Parks Still Lives... on the Web

A Postcard from Africa U.S.A.

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1546809/1547583" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

The main entrance sign for Africa U.S.A. Courtesy of Ginger Pedersen hide caption

toggle caption
Courtesy of Ginger Pedersen

Shirley Pedersen Schneider and her neice Ginger Pedersen NPR News/Susan Stone hide caption

toggle caption
NPR News/Susan Stone

In the spring of 1953 a determined entrepreneur named John Pedersen opened Africa U.S.A. near Boca Raton, Fla. It was considered the first cage-free live animal park in the country. Africa U.S.A. attracted movie and television stars and up to 2,000 visitors a day, but it closed after only eight years.

NPR's Susan Stone spoke with Pedersen's daugther, Shirley Pedersen Schneider, and his granddaughter, Ginger Pedersen, about the legacy of Africa U.S.A. Shirley was a ticket-taker at the park, but Ginger was born after it closed and never got the chance to visit.

Still, Ginger Pedersen cherishes the family stories passed down through the years and she's working to keep the memory of her grandfather's park from extinction with a lively Web site.