Space Zoo Farm

Space Zoo Farm & Museum Wantage Sussex County NJ run by Parker Space

A 2020 visitor’s perspective:

I visited this “Zoo” and I thought I would be feeding some goats or llamas. Instead, I witnessed inhuman conditions for the unfortunate animals living at this “Zoo”. While the “Zoo” is located in a pastoral area and there are many trees on the property, where the enclosures are located there are not many trees or shading to make life more comfortable. The Zoo has wild cats, Jaguars, Mountain Lion, Tigers, Cheetah and one Large Male Lion.

Not one of these Big Cats has access to water or shade. The Mountain Lion was literally pacing back and forth in its cage. You could tell it had been at this for a while as the path beneath its paws had been worn from walking back and forth. It was agitated and vocalizing/snarling if you will.

The Cheetah, Wild Cat and Tiger looked simply defeated. Their “habitats” were little more than a very old style 60s/70s style cage with a concrete slab. The Lion was in a cage which had a platform with a sort of moat around it. He was pressed up against the cage and facing away from the public And he just looked miserable and hadn’t touched his Deer leg which I watched a bird eat in his cage while he did nothing to stop it.  

I noticed that all of the carnivores had raw meat just sitting out in their enclosures. It has been said that the Zoo raises Deer on site for the purpose of Butchering them for meat to feed the predators who’s enclosures surround their enclosure. This was evident to me because I noted that in the enclosures of the Big Cats and even smaller Carnivores like the foxes there were skinned Raw Deer legs sitting out, most hadn’t been eaten by the respective animal and were attracting flies and scavenger birds. I also noted that they have 3 times as many Deer and Deer type creatures then any other kind of animal.

I noticed erratic behavior from the Baboons, Lemur Monkeys and other Monkeys, Bears and even the Birds they have there. The one bird started whistling and dancing as soon as he saw a bag of animal crackers, which the Zoo provides to visitors as feed for the animals. Even the cub bears which were separated from their mother and on a complete opposite side of the Zoo were behaving erratic going crazy fighting each-other at the site of animal crackers.

All enclosures reeked so badly as if the animals were living in their own excrement. Some of the animals, like the Deer were so skinny you could see ribs. While it appears this family has plenty of room to expand enclosures and make life more habitable for these animals it appears for whatever reason they do not. They may meet the barest of standards but they do not provide a quality of life for these animals.

I know that with COVID it has made it exceedingly difficult for local zoos to feed and care for animals but this “Zoo” has been the subject of many many reports of cruelty and subpar conditions for these animals for decades but nothing has been done. The owner Parker Space, I hear is a Congressional Delegate and also sits on the States SCPA board but I cannot understand how that could be given the living conditions of this population of animals. It was actually pathetic and I felt so sorry for these animals. It was 89 degrees and muggy, raw meat was rotting away stinking up the air and they had no water, with the exception of one Bear who was splashing around in it. I am very sorry I ever went to this “Zoo” and wish I had read more about it before going.

I don’t know what you can do but if there is any way to help these poor creatures, I hope that you can. To me any Zoo that glorifies trophy hunting and displays taxidermy animals, especially endangered animals like Polar Bears in its front lobby, has no respect for animals or values their lives.

All you have to do is google this Zoo and you will see how many complaints have been made and nothing is done. If you love Big Cats as much as you say, you will do something to save these poor creatures.

One Comment

  1. I recently contacted the Animal Protection League of New Jersey to get some clarity as to why this zoo stays open and this was their response;

    That place has been terrible for a long time. We do not have an active campaign to shut it down, but I don’t believe, sadly, that a campaign will go anywhere.

    The owner, Parker Space, is a New Jersey Assembly Member – he has been since 2013. I believe he is also part of the NJ Hunter Caucus in the legislature. The hunter caucus, a group of pro-hunting legislators, works hand in hand with the NJ State Division of Fish and Wildlife (NJDFW), who is responsible for giving permits for some of the animals there. He is also on the NJ Assembly Agriculture Committee in the legislature, which supports the interests of the NJ State Department of Agriculture (NJDOA), who would cover some of the other animals there.

    Unless Parker Space falls out of favor with his fellow legislators, and becomes persona non grata, I’m sure that neither the NJDFW nor the NJDOA will shut him down without a long, hard campaign against him. Even with that, they may not act against him.

    That’s the sad reality for these animals.

    Any campaign to attempt to shut it down would have to be immense – lots of sustained protests with lots of people, lots of media coverage, social media outreach targeting the dept of ag, the division of fish and wildlife and the governor, advertising and more. And it would have to be a sustained campaign, because IF they would even be shut down, it would take a very long campaign. Of that I’m certain. We were involved in the closing of a zoo in central Jersey years ago – Scotch Plains Zoo. The owner was not a politically connected person and even that was a hard campaign that took a number of years before the NJ Division of Fish & Wildlife took away his permits. It was shameful how they turn their backs on suffering animals.

    We would love it is someone would take this on as their own personal crusade, which we would support. But, with all the other issues we work on with our small staff, we simply cannot take on Space Farms at this time.

    I wish I had a better answer for you – and for those animals.

    Since you went there, tell everyone you know NOT to go there and give this guy their money. Post on social media what upset you. Write a letter to the editor of your local paper. Put it out in the public’s eye so that you might make someone else think twice about going there. If you or your friends have school age children, be sure this place is not on the school’s list for field trips. People financially supporting this guy is what keeps him, doing this.

    I’m grateful that you are sensitized to the plight of these animals. So many others still see nothing wrong with it.

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