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  • Writer's pictureAndre Watson

Former Catskill zoo hits the market for $3.6M

By:TRD Staff

Former zoo at 400 Game Ranch Road, Catskill (Corcoran Country Living)

It was America’s oldest privately owned zoo, drawing 500,000 visitors a year to pet or even feed lions, rhinos, elephants, giraffes and kangaroos. Then it morphed into a boutique inn and glampground. Finally, a $2,010 per night rental on Airbnb.

Now the 193-acre wooded property in Catskill, New York, once home to the Catskill Game Farm, is for sale, according to the Times Union. The ask: $3.6 million. “It’s an ideal residential development site,” Jason Karadus, of Corcoran Country Living, told the Times-Union. “I would be surprised if the purchaser isn’t going to develop it as residential housing.”

The seller is Blauners Paesanos Parkway of Yonkers, New York, which paid $1.86 million for it in November 2020.

While the listing says the zoo opened in 1933, other sources put the date at 1945. Either way, it was the brainchild of New York banker Roland Lindemann and proved a durable destination when the Catskills was in its heyday as a resort area.

It gained national attention in 2002, when it housed Youtube sensation “April the Giraffe.” She gave birth to a male calf, Tajiri, in a live stream that attracted 1.2 million viewers.

Yet attendance dwindled amid financial woes and legal woes. Other zoos said it shipped animals to game farms to be hunted, the newspaper reported. It closed in 2006.

Cathy and Ben Ballone bought it and renamed it The Old Game Farm as an overnight destination for tourists, hikers and photographers.

They converted the Old Giraffe Barn into the six-room Long Neck Inn and added four luxury campsites. After selling the property in 2020, the 9,000-square-foot inn became available on Airbnb.

Jeanne Rakowski and Fred Waring of Corcoran Country Living have the listing.

The property is zoned as 1.5-acre residential lots and has 10 wells on almost 200 acres It’s zoned for residential development in a region that has few large unprotected parcels of land, real estate agents say.

[Times-Union] – Dana Bartholomew

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