My three kids only feet away from a lion. Sounds like the content of a nightmare, but at Space Farm in Sussex, New Jersey the experience was enjoyable as well as educational. We went on their special Teddy Bear Day, a day in which children enter the zoo free of charge if they bring a stuffed bear companion, and had a great experience being so close to some amazing animals in the middle of the beautiful farmland countryside.
We especially enjoyed watching the lion sleeping as he looked so much like a harmless domestic cat lying in the shade. We also enjoyed seeing the adult tigers feed from bottles of the zookeepers just like kittens. The baby tigers were active and mischief makers that reminded us of our own little cubs and their antics. Bears from all over the world are also on display including one roly poly bear from the Himalayas who was so chubby my kids commented he looked like a giant Pom Pom.
We all enjoyed hand feeding the many varieties of deer and livestock the kernels of corn available in vending machines or at the snack shack. My children laughed as the many animal tongues liked their fingers. I was happy to see the well-thought-out placement of hand sanitizer bottles near every feeding area.
My children spent a good portion of our time at the park enjoying the swing sets and climbers in the presence of Lemurs and black bears and not far from the roars of the feeding cats. Feeding time in the park is not for the faint of heart as animal carcasses are distributed to all the carnivores. It is announced ahead of time, and the hovering opportunistic vultures are a good indication that dead animals are in the cages. We elected not to witness the carnage, and took a break to swing and slide and work some energy off.
We ate lunch at the onsite pizzeria. The food was good, though, there were some pesky flies inside that we disliked fighting. We ordered chicken Parmesan subs and cheese pizza. Space Farms does allow outside food and though limited there are some picnic tables to eat at.
The 100-acre farm also houses some fun Americana items including old-fashioned toys, Currier and Ives sleighs, rooms full of antique cars and even a prairie schooner used to cross the plains. My kids enjoyed looking at all the glow-in-the-dark minerals in the dark room and the indoor waterfall. There is a lot to see and take in during a visit to Space Farm.
There is also an extensive collection of Native American artifacts as well as many animals who have been preserved by the onsight taxidermists. 12 foot tall Goliath stands guard near the fireplace. A Kodiak grizzly who was the star of the farm until the 90s, Goliath’s size is astounding and holds a Guiness Book record for largest bear.
Space Farms breeds tiger cubs for conservation programs. The animals they take in have all been either injured or were laboratory animals. All animals we saw were in good condition and appeared healthy, active and well taken care of overall.
We definitely agree that Space Farms is “Grrrreat”! Our kids were exhausted and went to bed immediately at bedtime after a day walking and playing in the company of the beasts. Any activity that wears my active children down against resisting sleep is a successful one in my book.