SOURCE: Space Farms Zoo and Museum

April 09, 2012 10:18 ET

Space Farms Zoo and Museum, Eighty-Five Years of Family Tradition

SUSSEX, NJ--(Marketwire - Apr 9, 2012) - Space Farms Zoo and Museum opened its doors this spring for the eighty-fifth year. In the midst of the depression in 1927, Ralph and Elizabeth Space purchased a quarter-acre in the hamlet of Beemerville on which they built a small country store and started a wild animal collection. Ralph received his first permit from the state of New Jersey to open the Blue Ridge Wild Animal Farm in 1928. Little did the Spaces realize that the dreams they built would entertain and educate visiting families for generations.

Over the years the Space family bought contiguous farms, adding four hundred and fifty acres to the Space Farm complex. Dairy cows once spotted the Space's fields, as did a nationally recognized fox and mink farm. In the 1950's, Fred Space, Ralph's son, developed and expanded the Native American species zoo, adding the zoo's first exotic species, an Atlas African lion, in 1971. Since that time the zoo has expanded, and is now home to more than one hundred native and exotic species, all on natural food diets. Goliath, the Guinness Book of World Records' largest bear in the world, standing at 12 ft. tall and weighing in at 2,000 pounds, was raised by Fred Space at the zoo from 1967-1992. The Hokkaido bear species continues in Japan due to the expertise of Fred Space. Today, one hundred acres are dedicated to the world-renowned zoo, and three hundred and fifty acres are actively farmed or open space woodlands.

In 1979 Ralph Space opened the American Heritage Museum, on the site of the former Rutgers Experimental Dairy Research Facility adjacent to the zoo. Many museum articles were gathered over the years, beginning with a trade or barter system in Elizabeth's Country Store during the Great Depression. Antique cars, motorcycles, bicycles, tractors, horse-drawn carriages, sleighs, hearses, plows, farm implements, tools, dolls, and toys fill the museum. Space Farms Museum has the second largest collection of antique firearms in the United States. A walk through the Space Farms Museum is a walk through time. Visitors bring their children to see the zoo, and the adults are fascinated by the notable museum.

The Space family persevered though the Great Depression, tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, thefts, and fires. Third generation Parker Space now runs the family business, guided by his father, Fred T. Space, 83 years young. Members of the Space family are always on hand to answer questions and oversee the daily operations of the massive complex. A fun day trip for all ages, Space Farms has been a destination for family fun for four generations.

This year Space Farms celebrates eighty-five years, making Space Farms Zoo and Museum the oldest family attraction in the State of New Jersey still owned and operated by the original family.

Space Farms is located on County Route 519 in Sussex, New Jersey and is open daily until October 31st. Admission prices are $14 per adult, $9.50 per child and $13 per senior citizen, plus tax. Discounted group rates and birthday parties are available. For more information please call 973-875-5800 or visit the web site

Editor please note: for more information please call Space Farms at 973-875-3223.

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