Traveling and exploration gives us so many opportunities to open up our minds and experience the world as others do today and how they did in the past. Traveling to abandoned places allows us to take a step back in history, to see the world as it once was, or at least the remains. When the new owners of the Catskill Game Farm in Catskill, NY opened the doors of the previously closed Game Farm they gave visitors the opportunity to do just that.
The Catskill Game Farm opened in 1933 under the ownership of Roland Lindermann. When opened the farm housed deer, donkeys, and sheep. The farm was recognized officially as a zoo by the United States Department of Agriculture in 1958. From that time the zoo grew in size and variety, with roughly 2,000 animals and over 150 species on 914 acres of land at this time of it’s closing. In August of 2006 the Catskill Game Farm made the announcement that it would be closing on Columbus day that year due to financial reasons and declining attendance. When the zoo closed all animals, rides, and equipment. Today the property lies in desolation, while the new owners hope to restore some parts of the zoo and open it as a RV/camping site as well as event venue.
A rain storm had passed early in the morning on the day I decided to venture out to the Old Game Farm (as the new owners have decided to call it), making my trip through the Game Farm a wet, more challenging adventure. Many of the pathways appeared as small streams running through the grounds due to the excess rain.
When first entering the Game Farm you stumble upon on old cage that once housed Elk and a deteriorating building which once housed the Art Gallery. The cold air and raging winds made for a little bit of a creepy morning as the doors and shutters banged against the sides of the buildings. Following the path leads you down near to the area the wild horses were housed and a large deteriorating stable. The building holds multiple stalls. The first stall I ventured in to contained the remains of some sort of animal. Walking through the stable you are surrounded by chipped paint and od food bowls in place where they were left over ten years ago. Continuing on you will come across multiple set back, broken down animal houses that were home to zebras, camels, wild cattle, buffalo, deer, and a number of other animal species.
(An old horse stable on the grounds)
Continue with your journey and you will shortly come to the lower feeding grounds, which were home to the animal nursery and the entrance to the African Section. Near the animal nursery you will come across an old play area with decaying story book houses. The African Section was home to rare antelope and rhinos.
- After exploring the African Section head back away from the lower feeding grounds and up the hill towards the bird gardens and the recreation areas. Near the old bird gardens you will come across an old train station that back in the day would take visitors around the park. Continue on to the recreation area where you will see the animal show area with bleachers still in place and many locations that were once the location of amusement rides.
From here you will find yourself out near the old giaraffe house, which is currently being renovated with plans to turn it into an inn. In the future you will have the option of staying onsite at the inn and exploring this great location!
Please enjoy these photos of the Old Game Farm
If you find yourself with the opportunity to visit this site, there are a couple recommendations I would give you. The first is to make sure you look at your map before you go so that you have an idea of what you are looking it. Research some history of the place. Look at old photographs. The farm appears very different today than it did during the farm’s operating days and knowing what you are looking at and even seeing photos as it once was will make it far more intriguing for you. Another recommendation I would have for you for this location and any abandoned location is to dress appropriately, Be prepared for any type of weather as well as for any of the hazardous conditions you may come across in this type of environment. It is best to wear long clothing and sneakers/hiking boots. And of course…DON’T FORGET YOUR CAMERA!
Also note that while the owners do allow the public to visit the site, they do request a small donation in exchange for the opportunity to explore this site. All money goes towards the restoration of this beautiful location.
If anyone had the opportunity to visit the Catskill Game Farm in its prime days I would love to hear about your experiences and see any photos!
All images are original and copyrighted.