Bensons Animal Farm
November 7, 2014 19:00:43 (EDT)|
I grew up with those elephants. Jackie, Queenie and Liz mostly. Tanya came later, correct? I used to stand in the elephant barn the whole visit and solicit information about the girls from Larry Records, their trainer. He would let me in and hold me up to touch the faces of the gentle giants. Best times of my life. I found Liz in Tennessee...Queenie passed away years ago but saw freedom in her last days. I get really emotional going back because it feels so haunted. Beautiful but haunted. I know it's been a long time since those days but I still love those elephants like I saw them yesterday. Wish I could see Liz in person. Or Larry Records...is he still around? I have a picture of him holding me next to one of the girls courtesy of my grandfather's photography skills. I'd like to share it with him. I was a routine visitor from early 1980's to closing. Used to cry at the end of every visit when closing time came and my grandfather would get suckered into bringing me back the next day! I also used to get to walk next to Larry and the girls as they went down to the pond! Gosh, I miss my extended family!
susan October 25, 2014 18:00:43 (EDT)
I remember more. The elephant "stampeded" frightened by some other animal. Handler yelled, don't"bring out ?? when I am giving rides!" What crossed our paths? That I can't recall.
susan October 24, 2014 16:04:43 (EDT)
I remember riding on the back of an elephant in the late 40's or early 50's. Was it at Bensons?
Yvon Hawke September 17, 2014 11:36:32 (EDT)
In response to Thomas... This is a delay in responding, so I offer my apologies. However, the elephant statue is currently the property of Grand View Flea Market, business that drew all the drama about fake high-end merchandise being sold resulting in their closing down from flea market business. A post of mine some time back mentioned that the elephant, being from Benson's, should be returned to the park property. I still believe it should be returned. In fact, the owner's of Grand View should openly donate it to the town. It would be exceptionally kind of Grand View was to pay for the transportation of the statue back.
I live near the Grand View property and see the elephant often. What I saw was deplorable. Driving by, one day, the statue had been knocked over and damaged as a result. Then, it disappeared. Some time later, it was returned to where it stood, albeit repaired, and with a fresh new paint job and with the addition of an advertisement for trailers.
I toss a casual salute to the elephant when I drive by because of where it came from. Although, I am disheartened by its current purpose and use.
I occasionally visit the park with my wife and kids. I'm the author of the 2007 visit essay on this site (although the e-mail connected to that name is no longer in use) and photographer of the slide show. After the passing of both of my parent's two years ago, I converted the entire family media into an electronic archive and put together a Benson's collection from my visits in the early 80's. The difference between my 2007 visit and now is absolutely astounding. Hat's off to everyone that have worked so hard.
I find myself trying to locate the spot where we sat at our picnic tale, walk to the Firefly Coaster location. I've even looked at the little fountain/brook the runs underneath the shoe and down along the side to the catch-pool and think, 'that could be brought back to life.' Update the hardware and restore pump power, do a little cleanup of the water track, repair the water drainage and feedback channels... That would be wonderful to see happen. Perhaps it's on a project list for future consideration. I believe it would be a great thing to do in Arthur's honor. I never met him, but he is an individual I would have appreciated an opportunity to shake hands with him, just because.
Phil Frezzette August 25, 2014 14:15:42 (EDT)
Being from Pelham, NH I went to Bensons on occasion. My family and I are having our reunion there Sept 6th. It will be great to be back.
harry davies August 24, 2014 21:19:39 (EDT)
I worked at bensons in the late 50s early 60s as assistant trainer for joe acaro. later I went to california and did movie animals. best time of my life!!! were at bensons!Reading the post from (paul frazer) brought tears to my eyes.does any body know anything about john dufresne who worked with pinkey in those days?
Marc boisvert August 19, 2014 15:53:26 (EDT)
I have recived two items from bebsons animal park one is a mold to make a cloun head,the other is a life size mold to make a life size cow. You can call me at 603 296 7207 please cAll people are asking for these items.
Thomas Charron August 8, 2014 16:06:25 (EDT)
The Bensons elephant that was on the corner of the old flea market in Derry is gone this morning.
Anyone know what happened to it? It would suck if it was thrown away or destroyed. :-(
Ron Nickerson August 5, 2014 23:26:20 (EDT)
Hey everyone: As you can see my name above I just wanted to contact someone regarding a key chain medallion, I think is brass about a little bigger than a quarter from Bensons Wild Animal Park, circa the 1950's. I am now 65, and I remember going to the park all the time as we lived in Pelham, in the winter we used to go skating and sliding in the snow. My father worked their, he also ran the train, from around 1950-1955. I went there many times and have fond memories. My father had the medallion on his keychain ever since the 50's and when he died in 2000 at age 79, I took the medallion off the keychain and have saved it eversince. I am in Kissimmee Florida now retired from 25 years at Walt Disney World, and am thinking of selling this special medallion, is anyone interested or would like to correspond with me? I can send a picture upon request as I am also getting ready to sell or auction off a very exclusive 'Disney Collection'. Ron
No name July 23, 2014 07:20:10 (EDT)
Mike, apparently you are stealing Dane Cook 's material. Try something original next time.
Mike July 21, 2014 10:07:58 (EDT)
I remember I had always wanted to go to Benson's Animal Farm when I was a kid. My dad always promised me we would go, but he was a hard working guy and would drink heavily on the weekends. He would always say after he woke from a hangover "Benson's isn't going anywhere" I want to go there and ride a ride to smash my teeth out!
dale July 11, 2014 19:02:31 (EDT)
I feel very lucky to have had the memories of benson's while growing up.I think the pic of the woman on the elephant, holding a child, is my mother holding my brother...also that she knew the trainer of the lions and somewhere in her old photos owned by my sister is a pic of her lying with the lions...I barely remember the day, but we were allowed to stand outside the enclosure and watched her...also remember being able to ride as small children on the giant tourtoises...Ifeel fortunate that we had bensons then and remember going there often,the archive pics brought back great memories...I have decided to adopt an elephant thru tenn. refuge for my grand children, after reading an article about murderess mary(how horrible!)...my daughters truck broke down in Erwin today and while looking for somewhere for them to visit in the area I came across the article,which also made me realize how fortunate my children were to even ride on an elephant ,something my grandchildren will probably never have be able to do...so lets adopt one and be thankful they still walk our earth...the pics in the archives brought back a flood of wonderful, fun filled memories....great job to all!
Toni July 11, 2014 13:26:18 (EDT)
Wow, I have not been on this board in a long time. I heard of Mrs. Guill's passing and it brought me back. A very special family - many happy memories in that house. Dot....this is not the board for you. It is sad when people waste their energy on negativity that cannot change things. The animals during that time may not have had the best exhibits in the country, but I would say their care was among the best and they were loved.
Kevin July 11, 2014 00:48:04 (EDT)
Sarah: I worked at Benson's during the summers of 1979 and 1980 in the ride area. Benson's did have a train (that was my job, train operator) but it wasn't a "Clown Train". The reason I got the job was because the engine in the train was a tractor engine so the operator had to be a licensed driver. At the time most of the ride operators were 15 or younger. I just happened to be applying when the Provenchers (who had just bought Benson's) found this out. I was asked if I had a license and was hired.
NANCY DANIELS July 4, 2014 09:37:45 (EDT)
Bret June 21, 2014 07:50:28 (EDT)
Thanks Jay. Great loss of a great lady. RIP Jenny Guill. You are remembered and put smiles on more faces than you ever knew.
Jay June 20, 2014 17:05:49 (EDT)
We have lost another one from park, Jenny Guill passsed away yesterday. Jenny was eveybody's mother and loved my all. My thoughts and prayers go out to the Guill family many who also worked at the park over the years.
Laurie Galbo June 11, 2014 12:18:49 (EDT)
I recently bought a collection of elephants that had belonged to Mr. Provencher and learned that Benson's is likely to do a new exhibit. If you would have any interest in these, please give me a call at (603) 770-2225.
Steve (webmaster) June 9, 2014 16:59:05 (EDT)
Sarah June 7, 2014 22:54:52 (EDT)
Hello, I'd appreciate a little help possibly solving a mystery. Anyone who remembers Benson's well, they had amusement park rides at one time correct? Please take a look at this http://abandonedplaces.livejournal.com/2590731.html and let me know if they ever had a ride like the one mentioned here. Even better would be anyone who knows what might have happened to it. Thanks in advance for any information!
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