Explore the Grounds and Spend the Night at an Abandoned Hudson Valley Zoo
Many people have wonderful memories of the Catskill Game Farm. My family and I were upset when found out that they closed their doors for good years back. My grandparents brought my parents when they were children and then my parents continued the tradition by taking my sister and I. Thankfully we have pictures that captured this special place in time. I love watching the videos from the Catskill Game Farm on the VHS tapes (they still work, woohoo!) Even though I was very young when I first went, I remember hand and bottle feeding the deer and sheep, seeing the elephants, giraffes and rhinos.
Luckily, I visited the Catskill Game Farm in early October for the first time in over 20 years! It was such a pleasure meeting one of the new owners, Cathy that took over the Catskill Game Farm and brought life back into this abandoned zoo.
The Catskill Game Farm
The Catskill Game Farm was known as the first zoo that was privately owned in the United States! It was the perfect getaway with reasonable prices, smiling faces, happy animals, fun games and souvenirs galore.
The Catskill Game Farm opened in 1933 and sadly closed in 2006. Throughout those years, this property was the home to over 2,000 animals such as deer, flamingos, monkeys, bears, panthers and more.
A very special, furry celebrity once resided at this location. April the Giraffe was born at the Catskill Game Farm in 2002. It’s really neat that April was born on these nostalgic grounds. I had the chance to visit her upstate at her new home at Animal Adventure Park in early spring where she seems very happy.
The Old Game Farm
Formally known as the Catskill Game Farm, The Old Game Farm has brought life back into this once forgotten property. Upon arriving, the first thing that I noticed was the old Admissions booth which still looked the same except for the faded paint.
We also had the pleasure of meeting a man named Anthony, whose parents and other family members help run the Catskill Game Farm. He told us stories of growing up on these grounds, attending to anything on site, and spending his best days here. As he voluntarily walked around with us, he took us on a grand ol’ narrative tour of some very special places and shared his experiences with us as well. If you happen to have the pleasure of meeting Anthony, the unofficial tour guide and the Catskill Game Farm historian, consider yourself lucky.
Visiting The Old Game Farm is like taking a walk down memory lane. We explored all of the abandoned building and enclosures where the animals lived.The old signs were throughout the property and advertised almost everything as 35 cents along with Kodak film. We walked the path that the once famous train brought passengers from the lower to the upper part of The Game Farm.
While visiting the old Giraffe house (now known as the boutique hotel), we were happy to see that it’s now a B&B called The Long Neck Inn. It’s amazing how they renovated the building but still kept parts of the barn and doors where the giraffes spent their time there. Some of the rooms are also pet friendly. They have tent locations on site for camping as well.
There are about 150 acres with 130 buildings along with 3.5 miles of pathways to explore and I feel like we saw every bit of it. The Old Game Farm requests donations in order to keep this facility running for visitations. All of the donations go towards making it possible for guests to go on the self-guided tours, provide portable restrooms on site and to continue to maintain the property. The donation amount is around $20-$100. For The Old Game Farm, it takes them roughly around $75,000 a year in upkeep such as maintenance and insurance for the grounds.
They accept any old souvenirs to add to their collection of memorable on site.
How to visit The Old Game Farm
Once you sign up on their website, The Old Game Farm will send you a map of the property which is helpful to print upon arriving.
Since you have to have permission to be on the property, you must schedule your visit in advance. There is only ONE MORE date to sign up for.
Saturday November 2nd
The night after visiting The Old Game Farm, my family and I watched our home videos. It was great to see The Game Farm vibrant and full of life, that’s how I will always remember it!
Have you been to the Catskill Game Farm? Will you be attending the Old Game Farm this year? Share your experiences below.