Catskill Game Farm, boutique hotel, for sale

CATSKILL – The Catskill Game Farm, once “America’s largest zoo,” is up for sale. Again.

“The owner has decided to sell because he plans to retire in the near future,” according to Fred Waring of Corcoran Country Living. “He would like to find a buyer who can use the property to its full potential,” Waring told The Times Herald-Record.

The iconic site – once home to more than 2,000 animals including giraffes, kangaroos and elephants – has been listing for $3.6 million on Jan. 4 and has since attracted interest from more than a dozen buyers around the world, Waring said in an email to The Times Herald-Record.

Buyers are interested, Waring said. “There were several successful screenings even taking into account the horrible weather we experienced in our area,” he said.

More recently, the property was a boutique hotel, with the grounds of the old Game Farm available for nostalgic tourists. These days, according to a current Airbnb listing: “You can have the entire hostel to yourself with full access to the abandoned zoo.”

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The 193-acre property could present an opportunity for a new owner to open a home site or it could be used for residential development, Waring said.

“It really is a special place with old growth forest, open grasslands, rock ledges and outcrops,” he said.

Waring confirmed that the current owner is Sid Blauner of Yonkers-based real estate firm Blauners LLC. Several attempts to reach the owner for comment were unsuccessful.

The property, located at 400 Game Farm Road, was started as a family zoo in 1933 by German immigrant Roland Lindemann. At the time, the farm consisted mainly of deer and sheep, but later expanded to include more exotic animals and had over 500,000 visitors a year.

After years of declining tourism in the Catskills, the zoo officially closed in 2006.

In 2012, Cathy and Ben Ballone purchased the abandoned zoo and reimagined the property as an outdoor weekend getaway and boutique hotel. They renamed it Old Game Farm and opened the site up to anyone who wanted to explore what’s left of the zoo. Later, they reopened the former giraffe barn as an on-site hostel where sentimental revelers could spend a night or two in animal-themed rooms such as “the rhino room.”

In 2020, Blauner bought the farm for $1.86 million, according to Zillow. The entire hostel continues to be available for rent on Airbnb.

In addition to the guest rooms, game room, chef’s kitchen, and outdoor hot tub located at the site inn, the property also includes private “glamping” sites.

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