WELLFORD, S.C. (WSPA-TV) – Hollywild Animal Park will not be opening up this year. The board made the announcement Thursday and says the park may never re-open to the public.
“Closed” signs hang outside the entrance in Wellford.
“I think it’s sad,” said Pam Miller, who lives near the park. “The monkeys, I love them and the baboons.”
Those are experiences the public won’t have in 2017 and may never have in the future.
“I’m not sure it was much of a decision as much as it’s become our only option at least for this year and possibly permanently,” said Hollywild Animal Park Board of Directors President Tim Todd. “We’re still trying to look at anyway we can open the park at all.”
He said they just can’t afford staying open even after firing some staff members this year and doing fundraisers.
“We’ve had to depend on community support, grants and other things like that and those just simply haven’t been coming in the last two years,” he said.
He said a drop in attendance was also a significant factor behind the declining funds. “Part of it was due to an incident there in January of 2015,” he said. That’s when a fire killed 27 animals. “That’s not the only factor but we realize there was a correlation between that and attendance because we heard from the people.”
Todd says they’re using current funds along with donations and volunteers to continue housing the animals.
“We made sure whatever happened, one way or another, the animals would be well taken care of,” he said.
He says leaders are still looking to see how they can re-open the park.
“I hope so because it’s good for the younger generation, especially the children,” said Miller.
The park has an over 40 year history in the Upstate. Board members will meet next week to decide on the park’s next steps.