Animal Land!

From time to time there are reports of sightings of a large and mysterious black cat roaming the woods in the Green Bay and White Bay areas. These sightings have been so prevalent that there is a Facebook Group devoted to them. There’s all kinds of stories, like how panthers were released by a lodge for hunters to hunt. Now if the sightings were in the Exploits Valley, you’d have a perfect explanation. But, I don’t think Animal Land ever had a panther though.

But they did have a Llama.

79 07 23 Animal Land
“Come to Animal Land, and be spit on by the Llama” (Grand Falls Advertiser, 1979) 

I’m sure somebody has googled “does Newfoundland have a zoo” at some point.

I’m old enough to have have been to Animal Land on numerous occasions. I recall them having all of the animals listed in the advertisement above; plus some snakes; and of course the llama. I was lucky enough, with several trips to Animal land under my belt never to have been spit on by the Llama. He may deny this, and say that it is a figment of my imagination, but my brother was not so lucky. He was spit on by the Llama at Animal Land (somebody should make a “I was spit on by the Llama at Animal Land ” T-Shirt.)

llamas Animal Land
Llamas getting ready to hock a loog at unsuspecting children, Animal Land, 1979, (Grand Falls Advertiser)

Animal Land was opened in the summer of 1978 by Diane Gillingham. Initially the petting zoo featured an emu, llamas, a raccoon, and a wild turkey. The second year in operation the exotic peacock, stinky skunk, rather mundane rabbits and pheasants were added to Central Newfoundland’s leading zoological park. Not noted were the more run of the mill animals such as calves and goats.

Animal Land
From the Grand Falls Advertiser, August 13, 1979. I’m not sure if they ever got a bear. 

I can’t seem to find when Animal Land closed, I might be way off, but I think it must have closed down 25ish years ago. This would mean that it had around a twenty year run, pretty impressive as far as far flung tourist traps in Newfoundland go.

Animal Land Site
Site of the entrance to Animal Land, circa 2013 (Google)

Although it is long gone, Animal Land brings fond (and not so fond, depending on your encounter with the llama) memories to many Newfoundlanders, especially of a certain age and from a geographical certain area. For us, it was the closest many of use got to going to a zoo as children, or at least a Salmonier Nature Park equivalent. 

One comment

  1. Being from Botwood and only 8 when this opened, I’m sure I was there before. I just can’t remember much or any of it. I guess I didn’t get spit on or else that would have been burned in my brain as a memory.


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