Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Ever since I started this blog I have had this post in the back of my mind. See I always find weird stuff about things interesting. I enjoy seeing flea market toy finds, people's collections (all kinds), and interesting things about other cities. So when I decided to set up a blog I knew I was going to eventually share this item with everyone out in the blogosphere. Interesting little fact this item even helped name Eclectorama!

So for your viewing pleasure the Mold-A-Rama machines of the San Antonio Zoo! Now my son is way too old to go to the zoo, at least in his mind, but his mother and I do enjoy it every once in a while. So when the opportunity to accompany our nephew to his very first trip to the zoo, we both decided it would be a fun time. I also decided it would be a good time to capture some pics for the blog of the zoo's Mold-A-Rama machines!

The morning of the outing came and my wife and I were busily preparing for the little trip, sunglasses, hats, money, I thought I should grab some coins to get some wax animals for our nephew's first trip. Funny thing was my wife was thinking the same thing, but she grabbed dollars, good thing too the price had jumped to two bucks. Last time I was there it was a dollar in quarters, when I was young it was fifty cents. So out we went and jumped in the car! The San Antonio Zoo has had these things for as long as I can remember, and doing a little research the Mold-A-Rama machines started showing up around the country in 1962. So I betting these particular machines have been going strong in San Antonio for just about 46 years, not bad.

As a kid I had fond memories of getting a few animals each time I went to the zoo, I liked the gorilla and the polar bear the most, but the giraffe is a strong contender as well. So I knew I had to at least get a couple. The first machine we happened upon was the polar bear machine, right next to the komodo dragon machine (these things usually appear around the zoo in pairs, my guess is incase one breaks down). Now the komodo dragon is a somewhat newer mold for San Antonio, it made it's debut when the zoo got the komodo dragon exhibit, my best guess is about the late eighties.

So I dropped two bucks into the machine and it started shaking, the mold arms closed and the hoses moved as the pressure built and after a few minutes or so the arms retracted and a little scraper scraped the freshly minted polar bear off the work surface and into they tray. Now as per instructions you are supposed to wait a minute before removing, nuts to that I wanted to set that polar bear free. Now I will note, though I fail to ever wait a minute, I do hold the little wax sculpture upside down till it cools off some so it will not distort. So with that my nephew was on his way to building his wax animal collection.

Now my nephew's grand parents were there, and once he caught wind of what I was doing my father in law and I were racing to the different machines to see what they had. We didn't get everything in this trip since we planned to take him back, but he did get a good start. I mentioned that these machines are usually found in pairs around the zoo, we did run into two that were not working, the komodo dragon had an out of service sign and the elephant was not taking money. I also passed on the blue koala this time around.

I did get a purple seal or sea lion (you choose) for my wife, who I might add is thrilled as it does not go with her decor. So all in all I think we had a good day. We also got to see a majority of the animals, a new (new to me) bird exhibit where you can enter and feed the birds, they land on you and everything, plus on the way out we stopped to ride the train around Brakenridge Park. There are a couple other interesting things around the park that might make great blog entries, plus I'm thinking of building my collection of wax animals. One thing that got me curious is how do they get supplies for the machines if they are so old, or parts when they break down, so a web search latter and I found the official site and a collectors site. Just take a a look at Frankenstein or Buda, how sweet are those? Also I thought I would look on Ebay, people actually sell these things, there's a Frankenstein their now going for over a hundred bucks, wow! Now, if the video below works you should be able to see the mold process of the lion!

Well I hope you enjoyed this little peek into San Antonio, what I consider an essential stop at the zoo, the Mold-A-Rama's! Also here's a few pics of some of the animals that I shot with a little pocket camera that I thought turned out pretty good, enjoy!


Bubbashelby said...

Oh man those Mold-A-Ramas are SO COOL!

I used to hit them up every time I went to Hogle Zoo when I was a kid. I sure wish I'd have held onto some of them.

I think I'll plan a trip to the San Francisco Zoo this summer for my kids (with the silent motive of seeking out a mold-a-rama machine) - I hope they have Mold-A-Ramas!

Hatter J said...

our zoo in Tampa has these, and every year around Halloween (for Zoo Boo) they switch them out, leaving me the opportunity to pick up the pumpkin, Frankenstein, and the skull. Frankie looks like Boris Karloff and is VERY cool. Back in the 70s, we used to go to some Kiddie Chirstmas event in town, and I vaguely remember being able to have Disney shapes made also.

Bubbashelby said...

I just today found a Marineland seahorse mold-a-rama at a church garage sale ... of course I immediately remembered this post!

chunky B said...

LOL, that's awesome, I hope you picked it up or got some pics!