You can soon get closer to animals than ever before in Central New York.  A massive $10 million expansion at The Wild Animal Park in Chittenango, New York is bringing unique opportunities not available anywhere around, including camping in the wild, a water park, mini-golf, wedding venue, aquarium and indoor rainforest.

Luxury Camping

A high-end luxury camping resort will include treehouses and bungalows that'll make you feel like you're in Africa. "We're going to offer treehouses that you can look out on your deck and see some giraffes, zebras, and African animals, as well as bungalows with lions and tigers outside your window," said park owner Jeff Taylor.

Credit - The Wild
Credit - The Wild
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Credit - The Wild
Credit - The Wild
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Water Park & Mini Golf

A water park and exotic mini-golf course are also planned. But it won't be just any mini-golf course. "There is going to be animal enclosures mixed in with waterfalls and possibly bald eagles."

Wedding/Event Center

The 117-acre project will be located on New Boston Road and will also include a large event/wedding venue that overlooks a large habitat of giraffes and African animals. "The animals will be able to come up to the venue so it's kind of a unique experience where you get to get married, see giraffes, maybe have a penguin walk your rings down the aisle."

Taylor hopes the building, which can hold up to 1000 people, will also be used to bring in lots of entertainment. "We're hoping to bring in some country concerts. Doing a building that size really gives us a lot of options."

Credit- The Wild
Credit- The Wild
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Aquarium & Rainforest

Plans are to break ground on Phase One of the project in the next few weeks with a few treehouses and bungalows being ready sometime in the Summer of 2023. Then it's on to Phase Two. "The plans never stop. Our second phase is a large aquarium and indoor rainforest facility."

Both Phases are large projects that will take years to complete but Taylor says the overall goal is to create a place families can make memories. "We always try to think of things that are different and create a place families talk about forever and look back on fondly. Just putting smiles on people's faces, that's what's important."

The Wild Animal Park will open for the 14th season on April 9 with the first-ever Easter Egg Hunt this year. And plans are to open the Drive-Thru Safari on April 30.

The Wonderland of Lights will return bigger and better this year too. "It exceeded our expectations and we already have plans to add upon it for next Christmas season."

Wild Animal Park Owner Jeff Taylor Talks Expansion

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