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Catskill Game Farm
Entrance sign in 2006
Date opened 1933
Date closed 2006
Location Catskill (town), New York, U.S.
Land area 914 acres (370 ha)
Number of animals 2,000 (2006)
Number 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 sign at the turn into Catskill Game Farm in 2006


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) was 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.

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catskill_Game_Farm — Please support Wikipedia.
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93 news items

Berkshire Eagle (subscription)
Wed, 27 Apr 2016 08:44:34 -0700

The Catskill Game Farm was scheduled to close its doors the month after my visit, and the owner would have to find homes for more than 2,000 animals including camels, giraffes, monkeys, lions, zebras, rhinos and many more of 150 species. It was the ...

The Daily Freeman

The Daily Freeman
Wed, 24 Jun 2015 14:12:27 -0700

Ben and Cathy Ballone are the new owners of the former Catskill Game Farm, appropriately renamed The Old Game Farm. With them are their dogs Hudson, left, and Grady, seeking shade in the cave. Tania Barricklo – Daily Freeman. CATSKILL >> A mellow ...

The Daily Freeman

The Daily Freeman
Sat, 06 Jun 2015 11:33:45 -0700

A sign on the grounds of the former Catskill Game Farm tells of the intentions of Ben and Cathy Ballone to re-imagine the once-popular attraction. Ariel Zangla — Daily Freeman. By Paula Ann Mitchell, Daily Freeman. Posted: 06/06/15, 2:39 PM EDT ...

Albany Times Union

Albany Times Union
Sat, 19 Apr 2014 22:15:00 -0700

Heartache greeted the decision, almost eight years ago, to close the Catskill Game Farm, a one-of-a-kind landmark for travelers and local animal lovers since the 1930s. Husband and wife Cathy and Ben Ballone want to bring back at least some of that ...

One Green Planet

One Green Planet
Tue, 30 Jun 2015 04:51:05 -0700

Asha the lioness has always been known for having such a zest for life. Asha was rescued when New York's Catskill Game Farm closed and began auctioning off their animals to the highest bidder. She spent the next chapter of her life being the lion she ...


Thu, 13 Aug 2015 10:51:36 -0700

The farm's cougar, Hudson, came to Manorville after the Catskill Game Farm closed its doors. Cougars are typically solitary and nocturnal. Their paws have four retractable claws and one dewclaw each. They also have the largest hind legs in the cat ...
Watershed post
Wed, 28 Mar 2012 08:19:10 -0700

Above: A video of Boom Boom the rhino getting some TLC from a keeper at the Out Of Africa Wildlife Park in Camp Verde, Arizona. Filmed in 2010. One of the now-defunct Catskill Game Farm's most famous animals, Boom Boom the white rhino, died of cancer ...

New York Times

New York Times
Thu, 05 Oct 2006 19:38:11 -0700

Allegations that the Catskill Game Farm has sold animals to hunting ranches have dogged the operation for several years now. At least two major zoos have refused to send animals to the game farm for that reason. Now the possibility that some of the ...

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