www.thetravel.com /abandoned-catskills-old-game-farm/

Creepy Catskills: Tour An Abandoned Old Game Farm

By Aaron Spray 6-7 minutes 1/3/2022

The Catskills is known for its long-abandoned resort communities, but the Old Game Farm should also be on the lists of ruins-lovers.

The abandoned Catskill Game Farm was once considered America's greatest zoo and today it is one of the most unusual accommodations. The Catskills in Upstate New York was once the holiday destination of choice for many a New Yorker. Today vast hotels, resorts, and former bustling attractions lay in ruins in the Catskills - killed off by the advent of cheap flights to more exotic destinations like Cancun.

Today perhaps the best modern zoos to explore are the self-drive safaris where the animals have ample room to move about and wander - like the Lion African Safari in Ontario. There are plenty of these open zoos around the nation where the visitors are the ones penned up in their cars.

Background, Decline, and Abandonment of The Catskills Game Farm

The Catskill Game Farm's history goes back to 1933 when Roland Lindemann first opened the game farm.

In its early days, the Catskill Game Farm only held deer, donkeys, and sheep as a petting zoo. But in 1958 it become the first privately owned venture to be recognized as a zoo by the United States Department of Agriculture. The animals then grew exotic and bought animals from around the world.

The zoo spanned over 914 acres and used much of the land to breed animals for other zoos around the world (only 136 acres were available for public viewing).

Later the zoo was sold to his daughter, Kathie Schulz, in 1989. But along with the decline of the rest of the Catskills, it announced it would be shutting its doors for the last time in 2006. Thus ended 70 years of operation and being a prime family attraction. The business had pecked in the 1960s but had been in decline since. The zoo's equipment and animals were auctioned off in October 2006 - over 1,000 potential bidders attended from across North America.

The Catskills Game Farm once housed over 2,000 animals and attracted tens of millions of visitors. In its 73 years of operation, it was one of the great family destinations of choice with people flocking from near and far to see its giraffes and other exotic animals.

The Old Game Farm 2.0

Like much of the Catskills, the Old Game Farm has been forced to reinvent itself. The way that it has found to reinvent itself is innovative. Instead of housing animals, it houses people.

A new chapter in the sites' history began in 2012 when the property was purchased and redeveloped. The former giraffe barn was redeveloped into a hotel and opened to guests in 2019.

Today the site is often visited by people for the sake of nostalgia reliving the times they came here as kids. It takes them back to memorable family outings many years ago as they explore the many enclosures and facilities they saw as kids now laying abandoned. It also draws enthusiasts of urban exploration, photography, or just those looking for an interesting and unorthodox place to camp.

The Catskills Game Farm has been transformed into an upscale campsite and boutique inn. Visitors here are able to enjoy its over 200 mountainside acres, the 3.5 miles of the former zoo's original paved walkways and over 100 ghost buildings that were once used for the zoo and today are for visitors to explore.

Stay At The Mansion - The Old Giraffe Barn

The main accommodation attraction at the Old Game Farm is the Old Giraffe Barn - and one can even rent out the entire estate.

The Old Game Farm says of the Old Giraffe Barn that it is:

"Possibly the most unique home in all of upstate New York for any family to want to stay. Perfect for family reunions, ski weekends, small corporate retreats and all types of small events at a truly unique property."

Camping At The Old Game Farm

The Old Catskills Farm has 4 tent locations tucked into its hundreds of acres of uninhabited and abandoned land. Up to 13 guests can be accommodated at each site.

Camping here is easy and stress-free. All the equipment is already set up in the perfect setting just waiting for the next guests. The campsites are places in secluded areas where one can enjoy privacy and tranquility.

Next: If You're Seeking Quaint Charm, These Towns In The Catskills Are Full Of It

Like Toilet Humor? Visit The Museum Of Historic Sanitary Objects

About The Author

Aaron Spray (698 Articles Published)

Aaron is a first-hand traveler who has visited more than 70 countries around the world. He is passionate about traveling and opening up the world for other intrepid explorers.

More From Aaron Spray