CATSKILL — The former Catskill Game Farm, a beloved blast from Catskill’s past that attracted visitors from all over the world, sold last week for just under $2 million.
The 150-acre site was home to more than 2,000 animals, including the celebrated April the giraffe, from 1933 until the business closed permanently on Columbus Day, Oct. 9, 2006, after 73 years of operation.
Ben and Cathy Ballone purchased the former Catskill Game Farm property in 2012. They offered self-guided tours, camping and transformed the former giraffe house into a luxurious inn.
“We want to thank you all for your tremendous support and following over the course of the nine years we have had the privilege of owning this local landmark,” the Ballones said in a statement on the Old Catskill Game Farm’s Facebook page. “It is with a heavy heart that we have decided to shift our focus to other endeavors.”
Cathy Ballone plans to focus on her wedding planning business, Cathy’s Elegant Events, according to the statement.
“We have full confidence that the new owners will be able to fulfill the dreams we had laid out for the property and continue to uphold the historic significance and integrity of the Old Catskill Game Farm,” according to the statement. “We hope that you will show the same support for the new owners as they continue to preserve the history of the property while creating a new and exciting property business for the Catskill region.”
The Ballones’ long-term plans for the property included a campground and RV park, Cathy Ballone said in October 2019, when the Long Neck Inn opened.
The couple’s decision was not prompted by the pandemic, Cathy Ballone said in April.
“We decided to do this because of a life-changing event in our lives which made us decide to move forward in a different direction,” Cathy Ballone said. “We actually decided to put it on the market several weeks before COVID-19 became such an obvious presence in the United States.”