You Can Stay at ‘America’s Greatest Zoo’ in the Hudson Valley
You can now enjoy a night in the Hudson Valley in what was once considered "America's greatest zoo."
For 73 years the Catskill Game Farm housed over 2,000 animals and tens of millions of people visited. It closed in 2006. In 2012, Cathy and Ben Ballone purchased the property with hopes of rehabbing the property and reopen it to the public, without animals.
"We are trying to save a piece of history. My husband Ben and I purchased the property two years ago and have long term dreams to rehab the property to reopen it as a campground," owners wrote on Facebook.
Soon their dream was achieved. People were able to go "glamping" on the grounds where the animals used to roam.
Towards the end of 2020, Cathy and Ben said goodbye, announcing they sold the property.
"Thank you, it has been an honor" and went on to let us know that, "It is with a heavy heart that we have decided to shift our focus to our other endeavors. We have full confidence that the new owners will be able to fulfill the dreams we had laid out for the property and continue to uphold the historic significance and integrity of the Old Catskill Game Farm," they wrote on Facebook.
Last week the new owners said hello to the community while announcing a new name, "The Old Game Farm" and an updated website. The new owners released the following message and let us know you can once again stay on the abandoned property and explore what remains.
We are humbled with our new responsibility of stewarding the legacy of America’s first private zoo and the largest tourist attraction in the Catskills for over 70 years.
While we strive to honor and preserve the legacy of the past, we will serve as a bridge to the next chapter of the Catskill Mountains revival. Multiple generations are rediscovering this region as it experiences a Renaissance, from those who visited as children to those seeing the Catskills for the very first time.
The Hudson Valley carries nostalgia and childhood memories for many, and the Old Catskill Game Farm saw over 10 million visitors during its lifetime. While we are committed to preserving what remains of the Game Farm, we are equally dedicated to creating new memories and experiences for generations to come. Those who experienced wonder and awe at the former zoo in their youth will in turn bring their children.
We would also like to thank Ben and Cathy Ballone for their devotion and care to making sure this piece of American history was preserved for future generations.
We are continuing to operate the most unique, luxury Boutique Inn in America (built out of the giraffe stables), as well as private upscale campsites. Our properties strictly adhere to the most comprehensive Covid guidelines in New York State. Please visit theoldgamefarm.com for more information and how to visit