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Jungle Thriller Ark


The Ark when it was brand new with Thurston's, 1934.

This striking ride was built by Orton & Spooner of Burton on Trent in 1934 for showman William Thurston Jnr. It was sold in 1938 to Kent-based showman Teddy Andrews, who resisted the temptation to modernise it or convert it into a waltzer, and kept it as original as he could. Teddy also owned the set of Gallopers now travelled by Carters Steam Fair; he had bought the Ark to replace them when fashions changed and the old-style Gallopers were being laid up in favour of more modern thrill rides. When it was built the Ark featured a series of highly stylised Art Deco wooden animals, four abreast, which sped around the central paybox, rising up on “hills”. Soon the animals on their own weren’t exciting enough – so 6 motorcycles, 3 chariots and 6 rodeo horses were added soon after the ride was built to pander to more modern audiences.


Two of the Ark animals - the one on the left is
stripped back to its original paint. The one at right has been repainted to match.

We had been aware of the Jungle Thriller ark for a number of years and had shown an interest in buying it, but Teddy wasn't ready to pass it on. In 2005, he decided that it was time to hand it to the next custodian and, as he wished it to be well maintained and used by the public, he let Joby Carter have it for Carters Steam Fair.

That winter saw a major restoration of the ride, which was completely stripped back to its original 1934 paintwork. Joby faithfully copied the style of decoration and colour scheme from the original, resulting in a beautifully decorated and historically faithful renovation. In its first season travelling with Carters Steam Fair, the Ark was towed by the showman's engine King George VI, which had been used to pull it from 1938-1948 when it was with Andrews family.

Want to know more about the Ark? Buy the book and CD here

Who can ride, and what does it cost?
The Jungle Thriller Ark is suitable for adults and children over the age of 1 (it's a fast ride, and so is not suitable for babies). It costs 5 tokens per person. Prices may be subject to change.

Buy tokens in advance online, and get FREE RIDES!

Hire the Ark
If you are interested in hiring the Ark, the price starts from around £3000. Please click here for more information. The Ark takes about 9 hours to build up and measures 39 feet in diameter, and about 23 feet in height. Please be aware that you will need a good level ground and clear enough access to get an articulated lorry on to the site (any gate must be minimum of 10 feet wide). It runs on electricity, which we can generate with one of our lorry-mounted sets if necessary.

Detail of the central paybox, showing the beautiful art deco artwork.

The Ark has a collection of fantastical animals, chariots and motorcycles.

The sumptuous colours are best seen at night.












A leopard.

Learning to ride a motorbike


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