Gay’s Lion Farm in El Monte was a popular local area tourist attraction from 1925 to 1942, located at the southeast junction of Peck Road and Valley Boulevard (near the Interstate 10 freeway today).
The lion farm had over 100,000 square feet with seven arena enclosures to showcase lion acts for the paying public. The husband and wife team, Charles and Muriel Gay, ran the farm together. They billed their unique attraction as “the farm extraordinary,” and it did not disappoint.
Charles Gay would ride lions bareback – demonstrating his mastery of man over beast. He suffered severe lion bites during his career but managed to survive the worst of them.
Gay’s Lion Farm drew thousands of tourists annually for nearly 20 years. The lions became celebrities in their own right – appearing in the popular jungle and Tarzan movies.
When horse meat used to feed the lions was in short supply at the outbreak of WWII, Charles and Muriel Gay announced they were temporarily closing the farm. After the war, however, their farm never reopened.