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Old 04-01-2007, 01:21 PM   #1
digitalwacker
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Animal Paradise Family Fun Park

Does anyone know if the new Animal Paradise Family Fun Park opened today? I can't wait to check it out this summer. Any info on the park would be great.

Thanks...digitalwacker

http://www.goanimalparadise.com
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Old 04-01-2007, 01:26 PM   #2
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I had heard they were closing, but I am glad to see that is not true. We enjoyed it when we went a couple years ago, thought I used to LOVE Wilderness Safari better. If you don't know, that was a similar place in Branson, but closed a long time ago. I worked there as a teenager and it was so much fun!
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Old 04-01-2007, 02:23 PM   #3
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The Animal Fun park changed hands, all the animals were sold at auction - the guy who bought it is trying to bring back some animals and capitalize more on the family fun part of it, I think.

I drive by it several times a day, and haven't been into the park in 10 years. It looks like the new owners are putting a new coat of paint on things and sprucing the area up. It was my understanding that it wasn't going to be a drive thru park anylonger, but I could be wrong, plans for the area have changed several times since the new owners purchased it last year. I didn't know it was suppose to reopen today, but I will look as I drive home from work tomorrow and see how things look. (It'll be closed when I go by on my way to work at 6 am) I'll try to update if I see anything interesting.
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Old 04-01-2007, 10:20 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corbrakay View Post
We enjoyed it when we went a couple years ago, thought I used to LOVE Wilderness Safari better. If you don't know, that was a similar place in Branson, but closed a long time ago. I worked there as a teenager and it was so much fun!


Wilderness Safari is now the place where local boys go to beat the hell out of their 4WD. A buddy of mine recently purchased a Toyota FJ Cruiser and we went in at Wilderness Safari Road and drove it all the way up to Celebration City. Took us 45 minutes get there.
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Old 04-05-2007, 09:21 PM   #5
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Animal Paradise

Wilderness Safari was a great place. I hope the new Animal Paradise is open. I'm thinking of a road trip tomorrow. I'll let everyone know.


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Old 04-05-2007, 09:39 PM   #6
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Animal Paradise is open. Here's the blurb from the local paper. If you go, let us know how it was.



The long-awaited reopening of the tourist attraction now known as Animal Paradise Family Fun Park has arrived, even though quite a bit of work remains until the park's features are completed.



Lisa Ann Oddo is a sucker for babies, and not just her own, but also baby goats. Oddo gives one of the goats in the petting zoo at Animal Paradise Family Fun Park a little love pat. Other animals will be added up until the park's grand opening in June.

"They can come see us grow," said Lisa Ann Oddo, wife of the park's owner and developer, Tony Oddo.


What the new owner has done is reopen the park in what he calls a "quiet opening," this past weekend, with several guests dropping in to welcome the exotic animals back to the location just off Interstate 44 between Marshfield and Strafford. A grand opening is planned for June 1.

"It was a good turnout," said Lisa Ann of the past weekend. "There's still so much left to do. We're really excited. It's been really fun."


Having purchased the park in the fall of 2006, the Oddos have tried to revamp the look of the park as well as add numerous features.

"We could see it," said Lisa Ann. "We're a young, vibrant family and it was a real opportunity for us."

However, with the acreage being heavily wooded, evidence still exists of the January ice storm, with uprooted trees and limbs still scattered across the landscape.

"We're definitely still working," Tony said. "But you still get the beauty of Missouri and the beauty of the Ozarks here."

Along with this winter's ice storm, the park had to meet standards set by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The park was given high ratings, Oddo said, and obtained licensing.

"We're honored to have that kind of good start," Tony said.

Though the Paradise Lakes subdivision next to the park is also a project for the new owner, Tony, a former equestrian trainer, couldn't help wanting to quickly get the park set for its reopening as a prime tourist travel destination in southern Missouri, geared at families.

"We have people working from dawn till dusk," said Lisa Ann. "We're starting out slow but there's certainly more to come."

The animals currently are arriving daily and total about 70 as of mid-week, with species ranging from deer and buffalo to zebras and watoosis.

Though it's the animals that are the stars within the park, there are many other sites to be seen and experiences to be had.

"We're trying to make it more educational and interactive," Lisa Ann said. "Hopefully our customers can see the beauty of this place and our vision for the growth of the Other features include a gift shop, petting zoo, restaurant and a catering service (Paradise Cafe), a go-cart track (the Route 66 Speedway) and more.

"We want it aesthetically beautiful for the people and a wonderful habitat for the animals," Lisa Ann said. "The land itself is the epitome of the beauty of the Ozarks. This is God's country."

And plans are in the works for features such as walkways to let visitors stroll among the animals, a catch-and-release fishing area, a tram to take visitors on guided tours through the park and a miniature golf course.

While work is wrapping up on the park's features, the admission fee is half the regular price. Tokens given to visitors when they enter can also be used within the park for things such as go-cart rides or concessions.

For the Oddos, who have a combined total of six children and a few grandchildren, seeing the park be somewhere they would want to see their families spend time was important.

"This is where my kids will grow up," said Lisa Ann. "And learn the value of a token."

"We are bringing in other people to help us in the park offer more specialized services and products," she added. "It's creating a certain atmosphere and experience. It's our job as visionaries to do that. If we aim high enough, even if we fall short, at least we land higher than we were."

The park is open from 8:30 a.m. until dusk at the present time. For more information about Animal Paradise Family Fun Park, visit GoAnimalparadise.com online.
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Old 04-05-2007, 10:21 PM   #7
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Wow. Their plans sound really great. I'm glad to hear that the park is reopened; I've been there several times and always loved getting to see the animals up close (except the emus... those things are EVIL, I swear! LOL).

I love that idea of walkways allowing people to walk amongst the animals. Coolness.

Thanks for posting this article!

Joy
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Old 04-06-2007, 01:29 PM   #8
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This sounds like it would be a great place to visit on our next trip to Branson. Where exactly is it located?

Thanks!
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Old 04-06-2007, 09:14 PM   #9
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It's not in Branson, it's along I44, east of Springfield about 10 miles. Exit at the Strafford exit, take the south outer road (HWY OO) east from Strafford about 3 miles, the park is located on the south side of the road.
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Old 04-09-2007, 07:14 AM   #10
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If you have never been there, it feels like a real treck from Branson. I would take a good 30-45 minutes to get there.

I was also sad when I heard it was closing. I have been there many times and had hoped to one day take my own son. Guess he will get the chance after all.

Hope to hear a report after someone gets a chance to visit.
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Old 04-09-2007, 07:54 AM   #11
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If you have never been there, it feels like a real treck from Branson. I would take a good 30-45 minutes to get there.

I was also sad when I heard it was closing. I have been there many times and had hoped to one day take my own son. Guess he will get the chance after all.

Hope to hear a report after someone gets a chance to visit.

This is very close to where I live, and it's a good hour drive, and I don't dilly dally, I get on the interstate and go the speed limit, with no stops from my house to the first Branson exit. So expect it to take closer to an hour, if you go the speed limit, from the time you get onto HWY 65 in Branson before you get to the Strafford exit on I44. However, if you're going north to go home anyway, you probably take HWY 65 north out of Branson, to Spfld anyway, and the Animal park is just 8-10 miles east of the Springfield Hwy 65 - I44 interchange.
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Old 06-15-2007, 04:20 PM   #12
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Information

Just wondering if anyone has gone to the new Animal Paradise Family Fun park. It opened back in April, with only a few animals..I hoping someone can give me a review of the park.


Thanks..Neal
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Old 06-15-2007, 08:17 PM   #13
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Neal, it looks to be having several visitors when we drive by - but I've still not stopped to check it out in person.
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Old 06-21-2007, 01:09 PM   #14
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Has anyone had a chance to see how this is coming along?
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Old 06-28-2007, 02:34 PM   #15
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4th of July!

http://www.goanimalparadise.com/4TH_OF_JULY.html
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