Space Farms Zoo - Sussex, NJ
Space Farms was founded by Ralph and Elizabeth Space in 1927. Ralph opened a small repair shop and Elizabeth opened a small general store where the locals could shop for necessities. A few years later, Ralph, an avid outdoorsman, was offered a job by the New Jersey State Game Department to trap predators killing local farm animals. Most of the calls came from neighboring farmers in the springtime. Raccoons foxes and bobcats had young to feed and preyed upon the plentiful farm goats, sheep, chickens, and ducks.
But rather than kill the animals caught, Ralph built small cages and kept the animals until fall when the furs were prime and more valuable. It was, after all, the Great Depression and every penny counted. That business plan worked until Ralph’s children, Loretta, Edna and Fred became attached to the animals and begged Ralph not to kill them. Soon Ralph and Elizabeth had a small zoo.
Today he farm/zoo has grown from a quarter acre to a 450 acre farm, of which a 100 acre zoo and museum complex is open to the public for family entertainment and education. The zoo is home to both native and exotic species. The other 350 acres are actively farmed to support the zoo’s inhabitants. The Space family grows all of it’s own organic corn, oats, alfalfa, and hay for the zoo’s herbivores, and collects fresh road kill venison for the omnivores and carnivores.
The internationally known Space Farms Zoo was developed by second generation Fred Space, just prior to WWII. Over five hundred animals of more than one hundred species call Space Farms home. Under Fred’s direction the Space Farms Zoo has helped to re-establish elk to Korea, fallow deer to Taiwan, wild turkeys in the tri-state area, and Hokkaido Bears to Japan. The Space Farms Zoo has established longevity records for the bobcat, puma and jaguar. Many zoos are on the waiting list for young born at the Space Farms.
Lori Space Day, third generation, is in charge of the nursery and recently sent a pair of rare Black Mane Atlas African Lion cubs to the Philippines and young tiger cubs across the United States. Parker Space, third generation, oversees the entire zoo-museum-farm complex, with his son Hunter. Fred, Parker, Lori or Hunter are always on hand to answer any visitor’s questions, making a visit to the family owned and operated zoo and museum complex a perfect day trip for parents and children of all ages.
Exhibits at the Space Farms Zoo are constantly being updated. The Spaces recently completed a Tundra Playground for the zoo’s behemoths of the bear world, the Kodiak bears. This project had been a dream of Fred Space for years. The Space crew also put the finishing touches on expanded Timber wolf and Eastern coyote enclosures. Alligators slither in their exhibit on the Waterfowl Lake. Lions, tigers, cougars, leopards, jaguar and lynx romp in the green grass of their natural turf enclosures. Parrots sing songs, peacocks call, elk bugle in the fall, deer prance, and buffalo roam over the rolling hills of the zoo.
A constant thrill to visitors since the early 1950’s is the Snake Den. Fred Space gave unforgettable snake lectures to thousands of school children and visitors until a few years ago, when his son Parker took over that exciting activity. The fourth generation of Spaces, Hunter Space, climbed into the Snake Den recently.
Space Farms the oldest family attraction, still owned and operated by the original family, in the State of New Jersey. The Space Family welcomes you to come spend the day with us.
Space farms is handicap accessible. The Zoo is located on Sussex County rolling hillside, paths are paved or gravel.
Activities at this Site
At Space Farms Zoo the visitors can see and learn about one hundred different species as they walk through the zoological park. You can feed deer, goats, sheep, elk and farm stock. Children can also help feed the farm stock nursery animal their bottles. The children can play on the new playground, picnic in the park or eat in our Extreme Pizza restaurant. Educational speeches on different species help the visitor understand the changing natural world.
Pet Friendly Notes
Pets are not allowed in the zoo. Ask at the admissions desk for pet-friendly parking in the shade and fresh water for your pet while you walk the zoo grounds.
9 a.m to 5 p.m. daily
April 15th to October 31st