Wonderland Amusement Park
Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1905

"Another example of Couney's hospitals was at Wonderland Amusement Park in Minneapolis, Minnesota, at Lake Street and 31st Avenue. The exhibit at Wonderland, while short-lived, was extremely successful. It opened in 1905, along with the amusement park itself. Unlike at the Coney Island amusement park, according to Minneapolis Past, the incubator babies were the main attraction at Wonderland. The hospital building itself was two stories tall. The Minneapolis Journal reported that 'the first floor will be devoted to a room in which the incubators...will be exhibited. A room adjoining will be fitted up as a model nursery...The rooms upstairs are the living rooms' for the doctors and nurses. The Minneapolis Times informed potential visitors that 'to the spectator the incubator babies will appear to be living undisturbed lives behind the glass doors of their castles.' Doctors usually referred infants to the hospital as a last resort."

-- "Incubator Baby Shows: A Medical and Social Frontier," by Hannah Lieberman.

Wonderland closed in 1912, a victim of debts, bad weather, and decreasing attendance. The Infant Incubator Institute, now an apartment building on the corner of 31st Avenue and 31st Street, is the amusement park's only surviving structure. Eleven of the infants that did not survive are buried at the Minneapolis Pioneers and Soldiers Cemetery.

A night view of the park entrance, from an old postcard.
Another night view of the park, from another old postcard.
The Incubator Exhibit building.
Nurses and babies at the Infant Incubator Institute or "Infantorium" (image courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society, used by permission).
The surviving structure of the Wonderland Infantorium.

Incubator Baby Shows: A Medical and Social Frontier, by Hannah Lieberman, from The History Teacher 35.1, November, 2001.
The Child Hatchery, by Joseph Hart, from City Pages.
Premature Babies were Displayed at Lake Street Amusement Park, from the Minneapolis Pioneers and Soldiers Memorial Cemetery History Page.
Wonderland Park is Well Opened, from The Minneapolis Journal, May 29, 1905, Page 7.
The Incubator Babies at Wonderland Park, from The Minneapolis Journal, May 20, 1905, Page 10.

Created 1/7/2006 / Last modified 5/2/2021
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