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Return to the Catskill Game Farm

Return to the Catskill Game Farm

When you whipped out a bottle to feed the animals in the petting zoo, you were basically mauled by goats. A package of crackers might attract a hungry mob of deer, roaming free with dangerous-looking antlers. A pillory invited parents to imprison their children for a photo opp (see my cousin Rory in the photo above). Good times all around! The Catskill Game Farm, which opened in 1933 and closed in 2006, was the largest privately owned zoo in the United States, and I visited every summer of my childhood.

CatskIll Game Farm short shorts

Here's my dad rocking some early-80's short-shorts, while pushing my stroller. I asked him if they were so tight that the white liners of the pockets were popping out, and he looked at me like I was crazy and said, "No, that was the style."

Here we are feeding an elephant which seems only lightly barricaded, and there's one of those free-range deer trying to steal the pachyderm's treat.

Here's my Uncle Tommy, flashing a nervous smile as a antlered herd gets a whiff of his crackers. Kind of reminds me of the herds of children at Carson City back in the day.

Catskill Game Farm Goats

Here's Uncle Tommy again, battling some goats in the petting zoo. Another year, another bright-colored polo shirt, another animal attack.

Catskill Game Farm cauldron

After you snapped a photo of your children locked up in the pillory, you could take a picture of them in a cauldron, as though you were boiling them for dinner. Why don't we see this type of stuff anymore, guys? #MakeAmericaGreatAgain

The new owners of the zoo grounds still call it The Old Game Farm and they have plans to turn it into a campground and RV park. But the cauldron is long gone.

Here's my cousin, Kian, dealing with some more docile sheep. Perhaps they were floored by her spot-on style. Knee-length Aladdin Genie t-shirt and oversized scrunchie? Yes, please.

And here I am with my little sister and my mom, beside a gigantic camel. Does it seem like we're a little too close to the majestic beast? Safety issues aside, I have nothing but happy memories of Catskill Game Farm, where all the animals were so close you could usually reach out and pet them.

Weird & Wonderful Antiques at Mooney's Auction House

Weird & Wonderful Antiques at Mooney's Auction House

A Nature Walk Guided by Archer

A Nature Walk Guided by Archer