The area in and around Pymatuning State park is filled with a wide array of places to visit during the summer season. On Saturday Super G. and I took the kids to just one of the local attractions, Deer Park. Pymatuning Deer Park is located in Jamestown, PA, at the southernmost tip of Pymatuning Lake. In operation since 1953, the small zoo is bulging at the seams with over 250 exotic and domestic animals. It’s the perfect place to spend an afternoon.
You’ll be greeted at the entrance by a large herd of Fallow Deer, they’ll follow you along the fence line licking their lips and staring at you with their big pleading brown eyes, which will make you want to buy enormous amounts of $1 treat bags to dole out. They’re excited to get one but very gentle and so cute!
After you rip yourself away from them to venture further into the park you’ll see a large pen with colorful birds of all sorts inside. Pretty peacocks, pheasants, a chicken or two and a ton of others I don’t the names of. The trio of donkey’s lounging in the shade next to the bird pen need to be petted as you wander by.
You’ll have a nice view of the petting area as you walk the uphill sloping boardwalk, then ooh and ahh over the tiniest little monkeys, called marmosets, you’ve ever seen in the center pen before traveling onward.
If you’re lucky like we were, the black spotted leopard will be laying right out in the front of his enclosure so you can snap a picture while standing just feet away. You’ll marvel at how his soft fur gleams in the dappled sunlight. You’ll wish you could snuggle with him but know by the look of his companion that they would probably have other activities, like lunch, in mind. There are wallabies, reindeer, ostriches, and playful zebras who all are curious and happy to see you.
Don’t miss the “Deer Park Express” miniature train! Hop aboard for a little break from walking. It’s fun to see how many deer you can spot in the trees. If you look closely you might even catch a glimpse of the Timber Wolves taking an afternoon nap.
After the train ride you can take a stroll through the Wild West where a very large bear and an unlikely unicorn will stop for a quick photo. Watch out though or you could find yourself behind bars!
In the little store you can find bags of “Authentic Mining Rough” for sale. They might look like they’re just filled with a bunch of dirt but if you take it outside to the water run you can “pan for gold”. You won’t be disappointed as each bag has 4 or 5 ounces of gorgeous natural gemstones and minerals hiding inside. In the two bags we panned, we found Labradorite, Green Quartz, Flourite, Tiger Eye, Green Aventurine, Emerald Calcite, Fossilized Lime Stone, Gastropod and Fool’s Gold just to name a few.
The Siberian Tigers are a favorite of course! Being able to see them so close up is such a treat
Young and old will enjoy a visit to the “Kiddie Zoo” where you can pet a large number of roaming
moochers cuties. Abundant with goats, you’ll also find an adorable miniature horse that you wonder if anyone would notice missing, . The striped legged Zedonk just might be one of the sweetest animals in the whole petting area!
Certainly the funniest animals in the Kiddie Zoo are the mob of llamas and alpacas. They won’t scoff at a handout and in fact are most insistent that you give them something… anything… to eat. Just a nibble or lick please! Your family might even have the most laughs of the day whilst standing in front of that silly llama pen.
There are so many more animals there that I can’t even remember them all! We are already planning a trip back to see the Black bears, their exhibit was closed due a tree falling on the building (animals are fine!).
Deer Park is one of the hidden gems of Pa. Even on a hot 90 degree day, the shady grounds and the fun of animal interaction made for a family outing that even the moody teenager enjoyed.