Allentown
54° F
Mostly Cloudy
Mostly Cloudy
 

One Tank Trip: Space Farms Zoo & Museum

By Old
Published On: Aug 17 2011 10:04:05 AM CDT
Updated On: Jul 27 2011 05:59:10 AM CDT
SUSSEX, N.J. -

Some people purge what they don't use. Others hold onto everything.

In Sussex County, New Jersey, one man's stuff still draws more than 85,000 visitors each year.

At Space Farms Zoo and Museum, you'll find specimens in jars of formaldehyde next to dressed up dolls.

"I always say Gramp never threw anything out," said Parker Space.

Gramp was Ralph Space, who accidentally started what is now Space Farms Zoo and Museum.

Parker Space is third generation and now the keeper of the family history.

In 1925, his grandparents had a garage and general store, and when the Great Depression hit, customers would barter for goods. What they left behind ended up on the wall.

Gramp was also a trapper for the state, and he'd keep the animals behind his garage.

"Pretty soon word got out, 'Hey, you gotta go see Space. He's got a bunch of antiques and a bunch of animals,'" said Parker Space.

Through the years, Space Farms went from 1/4 acre to more than 450 acres, and the attractions drew huge crowds, like Goliath who lived at Space Farms from 1967 to 1991.

He was the biggest bear ever recorded anywhere in the world.

It's part farm, part zoo, part museum.

"It could never be started again, you know," said Space. "It was like a one shot deal, and it just sort of evolved over the years. You're never going to find anything quite like this."

Thanks to Rick Thompson and the Lenharts for suggesting our trip to the Space Farms Zoo and Museum.

The ride to and from Sussex County put about 230 miles on Karin's odometer.

If you'd like to suggest a trip for Karin to take, you can email her at karinm@wfmz.com.