You Can Buy a 193-Acre Former Zoo in the Catskills

It includes a boutique hotel housed inside the old giraffe barn.

Photo by Walker Esner, courtesy of Corcoran Country Living
Photo by Walker Esner, courtesy of Corcoran Country Living

If you were really inspired by the 2011 Matt Damon film We Bought a Zoo, we have some good news for you.

The Catskill Game Farm, a 193-acre former petting zoo and animal breeding facility, is up for sale. Located in Catskill, New York, the property is about two-and-a-half hours north of New York City by car. It began as a family-owned petting zoo in the 1930s—becoming America's first privately owned zoo—and operated until 2006. At its height, the property was home to over 2,000 animals, including the viral phenomenon April the giraffe.

Catskill Game Farm
Photo by Walker Esner, courtesy of Corcoran Country Living

In 2012, a couple purchased the former zoo and began to reimagine it as a resort property they renamed The Old Game Farm. They set up glamping sites (which are still available to book via Tentrr) and renovated the former giraffe barn into a boutique hotel called the Long Neck Inn. They couple sold to a group of investors in late 2020, who planned to bring animals back to the property and add attractions like mountain biking and archery.

Now, the former zoo is for sale once again via Corcoran Country Living. The listing emphasizes residential development opportunities on the massive property, with an asking price of $3.6 million. Reached for comment by Thrillist, Corcoran agent Jeanne Rakowski said she envisions the property will likely appeal most to developers.
 

Catskill Game Farm boutique hotel
Photo by Walker Esner, courtesy of Corcoran Country Living

"We have camp inquiries, glamping inquiries, adventurous type settings, but we think it's gonna lean towards a residential development," she said, adding that the property's size, location, and zoning would likely be appealing. "It's nostalgic. It's smack in the center of Kingston, Saugerties, Woodstock, Catskill. It's right off the Thruway. It's zoned well... Properties like this are few and far between."

Even if you don't have a few million dollars to shell out on a zoo—or a similarly priced Old West-style town out in Colorado—you can take a drone tour of the property below:

click to play video
Corcoran Group

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Chris Mench is an editor focusing on NYC News at Thrillist. You can follow him on Twitter for more of his work.