Catskill Game Farm
Entrance sign in 2006
|Location||Catskill, New York, U.S.|
|Land area||914 acres (370 ha)|
|No. of animals||2,000 (2006)|
|No. of species||150 (2006)|
Catskill Game Farm was a zoo in the town of Catskill, New York, United States. It closed permanently on Columbus Day 2006, after 73 years of operation. The Game Farm is still closed today, but in 2012, it was sold to new owners who plan to reopen the site as a family-oriented establishment once again, with the addition of a B&B, campground, and RV resort with animals.
The Catskill Game Farm was opened in 1933 by Roland Lindemann and was still owned by the Lindemann family, as Catskill Game Farm Inc., at the time of its closing. At first, it held only deer, donkeys, and sheep. In 1958, the United States Department of Agriculture recognized Catskill Game Farm as a zoo, and it became the first privately owned venture to achieve such status. The collection was then allowed to grow more exotic, and at the time of its closing, it hosted roughly 2,000 animals representing over 150 species, imported from around the world.
The zoo spanned more than 914 acres (370 ha), most of which was used to breed animals for other zoos worldwide. Only about 136 acres (55 ha) were available for public viewing, and then only in the summer and autumn.
On August 2, 2006, the Catskill Game Farm announced that it would be closing on Columbus Day of that year, ending its 73-year run. Its owners attributed the closing to mounting financial difficulties, dropping attendance, and legal regulations leading to the shutdown of its Splashdown attraction, though Splashdown itself never violated regulations.
The auction was organized and conducted by Norton Auctioneers of Michigan, Inc., a worldwide auction group based in Coldwater, Michigan. Norton's is known for auctions of tourist attractions of every shape and kind – amusement parks, carnivals, carousels, family entertainment centers, museums, zoos, and unique collections.
The two-day Catskill auction attracted over 1,000 potential bidders from across the nation, Canada, and Mexico. Selling the first day were the amusement park rides, restaurants, gift shops, and related items, and on the second day over 900 animals, vehicles, and farm and construction equipment.
A 1951 Herschell Merry-go-Round with aluminum horses sold for $39,500; a Venture Lady Bug ride sold for $8,800; a Kiddy Helicopter for $7,000; a Kiddy Car Ride for $8,300; and a Venture Himalaya for $7,700. Additionally, over $12,000 worth of picnic tables and benches were sold.
Animal highlights included the sale of two rhinos, for $6,000 and $9,250, to an organization that placed them for the International Rhino Association. A bull elk sold for $1,325, and five female elks sold for $3,600. A small group of Dall sheep sold for $2,500; 10 alligators for $1,350; a white elk for $1,950; pygmy donkeys ranged from $825 to $1,650 each; and a female warthog astonished animal dealers as she sold for $9,900. Five fallow buck deer fetched $3,600, and two groups of Barbados sheep sold for $2,200 each. A pair of bison sold for $1,925; a lot of three wisent for $6,600; a pair of African porcupines for $1,220; an African spurred tortoise for $1,100; and a lot of five guanacos for $7,150. Vervet monkeys sold between $1,375 and $2,200 each. Nilgais averaged $1,350 apiece, and five reindeer fetched $4,725. A lot of three pot bellied pigs sold for $990; a male shetland pony sold for $1,980; llamas ranged from $400–$1,000 each; a male red deer sold for $2,200; ostriches were sold for $900–$1,200 each; and a pair of East African crowned cranes went for $2,300. Also sold were birds, reptiles, and snakes.
In addition to the above list, a southern white rhino named "Boom Boom" was bought by Marc Ecko, founder of the rhino-branded Ecko apparel line, for the Out Of Africa Wild Animal Park in Camp Verde, Arizona. "Boom Boom" died on Thursday, March 22, 2012, at the age of 41, from cancer. A giraffe named April was sold to Adirondack Animal Land, then to Animal Adventure Park in 2015. April later became an Internet sensation when a live video of the late stages of her pregnancy, along with her birth, were published on the Internet.
- Official website (archived on October 4, 2006, five days before its closing)
- The Old Game Farm (current owner's website)
- Beckius, Kim Knox. "Welcome to the Catskill Game Farm". About.com. Archived from the original on 2007-03-03. Retrieved 2007-03-09.(Catskill Game Farm Photo Tour)
- D., Simone. "Marc Ecko finds permanent homes for rescued rhinos". Care2.
- Leavitt, Marco (August 3, 2006). "Catskill Game Farm to close". The Business Review. Albany.
- Young, Constance (Spring 2007). "Where the Animals Went: The End of the Catskill Game Farm". AboutTownGuide.