Want To Own A Zoo? Here's Your Chance - Mid-South News, Weather, Traffic and Sports | FOX13

Want To Own A Zoo? Here's Your Chance

Posted: Updated:
The owner of the Animal Kingdom Zoo in Burlington County, New Jersey says the zoo is up for sale. The owner of the Animal Kingdom Zoo in Burlington County, New Jersey says the zoo is up for sale.
Springfield Twp., NJ -

Always dreamed of owning a pet giraffe? Now's your chance! It's not often you get the opportunity to buy a zoo. But one is up for sale right now in Burlington County, New Jersey. It sounds like it could be a lot of fun. But this is no Matt Damon movie. The Animal Kingdom Zoo in Springfield Township has run into problems the past few years, and it may take a Hollywood ending to save it.

The moment you arrive outside the privately-owned zoo, the animals charm you. Whether it's a parrot, a peacock, or a giraffe peeking out from behind a fence, it puts a smile on your face. It can be all yours, for only $2.4 million. The owner is selling it after more than three decades. Nicol Gerber of Hamilton Township had planned to take her granddaughter to the zoo until she heard the news. "I wanted to bring her because they got giraffes, everything there. And it's great. But it's closed. The maintenance guy actually told us yesterday that they're not going to re-open it."

Not unless a new owner who wants to run a zoo steps forward soon. And that buyer would need to comply with some pretty strict regulations. "That means compliance with building code, zoning regulations, the USDA, which regulates animal safety, the DEP of New Jersey," Springfield Township Mayor Denis McDaniel outlined for Fox 29. Animal Kingdom does have a troubled history: 50 violations from the U.S. Department of Agriculture last year alone. Back in 2011, two separate fires killed the owner's wife and several animals. Nonetheless, the owner, Burton Sipp, says he did find a buyer who wanted to expand the zoo. But township officials wouldn't go for it. "Jacksonville is a small hamlet," Mayor McDaniel explained. "So something out of scale that's too large would not be appropriate there. That's why there are restrictions on the size of the zoo."

The owner told Fox 29 he's already selling off the animals. Unless another buyer steps forward soon, the zoo will cease to exist. For longtime residents who visited there as children, and then brought their own children, it's a sad but growing possibility. "It'd be sad but, seems the way things are going nowadays, lots of good things are going to the side, you know?" former zoo visitor Frank Massena said.

The owner said he decided to sell because he's focusing on his horse business. As for finding a buyer who will keep the zoo running, the odds are long because banks will finance the purchase of the property only, not for the purchase of the animals as well.

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Man Dies Following Parachute Jump In South Jersey

    Man Dies Following Parachute Jump In South Jersey

    Monday, April 21 2014 7:19 AM EDT2014-04-21 11:19:43 GMT
    A parachute jump goes terribly wrong in South Jersey. A skydiver dies after what police describe as a problem with his wingsuit.
    A parachute jump goes terribly wrong in South Jersey. A skydiver dies after what police describe as a problem with his wingsuit.
  • Student Sexually Assaulted At West Chester University

    Student Sexually Assaulted At West Chester University

    Student Sexually Assaulted At West Chester University

    Monday, April 21 2014 7:18 AM EDT2014-04-21 11:18:39 GMT
    Students and parents are on edge after a sexual assault was reported to the University Department of Public Safety on Saturday, April 19th at 2:28 a.m.According to campus police, the assault occurred in a residence on campus. Police say the victim did not know the attacker."It's kind of scary because obviously it shouldn't be happening," student Kate Luff said. "There's security guards so I mean they had to have gotten signed in or lived in the building."Other studentsare just as shocked."Tha...
    Students and parents are on edge after a sexual assault was reported to the University Department of Public Safety on Saturday, April 19th at 2:28 a.m.According to campus police, the assault occurred in a residence on campus. Police say the victim did not know the attacker."It's kind of scary because obviously it shouldn't be happening," student Kate Luff said. "There's security guards so I mean they had to have gotten signed in or lived in the building."Other studentsare just as shocked."Tha...
  • One Year After Marathon Bombings, Runners Return To Boston

    One Year After Marathon Bombings, Runners Return To Boston

    Monday, April 21 2014 7:01 AM EDT2014-04-21 11:01:22 GMT
    One year after the explosions, 36,000 runners return to Boston. See how the city is securing the site.
    One year after the explosions, 36,000 runners return to Boston. See how the city is securing the site.
Powered by WorldNow

WHBQ-TV | Fox 13
485 S. Highland St.
Memphis, TN 38111

Main Station: (901) 320-1313
Newsroom: (901) 320-1340

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices