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Hidden Valley Animal Adventure - Wyoming Co.

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Hidden Valley Animal Adventure - Wyoming Co.

Postby Matt » Fri Nov 13, 2009 12:35 pm

Going wild in Wyoming County

For most of his 74 years, Hans Boxler has been a dairy farmer in the rural Wyoming County town of Varysburg.

Now he’s about to start a second career.

[e]Hidden Valley Animal Adventure, a 175-acre preserve for exotic creatures, will make its public debut next spring.[/e] Hidden Valley was seven years in the making. Boxler estimated his cost to be $2 million and climbing. It’s home to more than 400 animals that roam in the quiet pastures that comprise a portion of his 5,000-acre farm. Boxler, however, has received incentives and tax breaks from such groups as the Wyoming County Industrial Development Agency.

“Why am I doing this?” he said. “Because I love animals.”

He has a Dr. Doolittle-like karma with his still-growing herd that includes [e]bison, water buffalo, camels, zebras, emus and wildebeest.[/e]

“Hans really loves animals,” said Bob Gibson, Hidden Valley general manager. “If something happens to one of them, any of them, it breaks his heart.”

Hidden Valley is a picturesque venue that’s destined to become a regional tourist attraction.

“It is definitely going to impact the tourism dollars that come into the county,” said Robin Marschilok, program manager, Wyoming County IDA. “This is a very unique project. It is a destination that is very reachable, not only from Buffalo and Rochester but from Pennsylvania and Ohio. It will draw dollars from all around us.”

Visitors will be greeted at a timber-framed lodge that serves a multitude of purposes and includes a private catering center. The lodge has some overnight guest rooms and a restaurant for those going on the preserve’s hour-long tour.

Several groups have booked events such as wedding receptions and family reunions.

Brian Fleischman is executive director of the Wyoming County Tourism Promotion Agency. He said Hidden Valley could eventually rival Letchworth State Park as a main attraction in the county. Letchworth annually attracts between 600,000 and 800,000 people.

“I can’t underestimate its impact,” Fleischman said. “It certainly has the ability to attract people the way Letchworth does.”

Boxler bought a few Army surplus trucks and is having them refigured to seat 30 people. The trucks will take visitors on the tour, whose highlight is interaction with various animals. Visitors will be given a bagful of grain to feed animals at stops along the tour.

“Grain is like candy,” Boxler said. “They love it.”

A dairy farmer by trade, he looks the part with calloused hands, mud-caked blue overalls and a well-worn Carhartt cap. He said that in 2002, his love of animals led him to buy the beginnings of his exotic herd.

A member of the Dairy Farms of America buying co-op, Boxler’s farm is home to more than 4,000 cows, goats and other dairy animals. At its peak, the farm generated 150,000 pounds of milk per day – enough to fill three semi-tankers. Boxler said his daily dairy output has dropped in recent years due to overseas competition and other economic factors.

“You know what they say about farmers? A farmer is a jack-of-all-trades but gets paid for none,” Boxler said.

The start-up costs for Hidden Valley weren’t cheap.

Reindeer fetch as much as $2,500 each. Zebras run $7,000 apiece. A pregnant camel can cost as much as $10,000.

The animals were acquired through a network Boxler has tapped into that includes on-site auctions, such as one he recently attended in Mount Hope, Ohio.


http://buffalo.bizjournals.com/buffalo/ ... 1258347600 ^2431311
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Re: Hidden Valley Animal Adventure - Wyoming Co.

Postby hobkyl » Fri Nov 13, 2009 3:23 pm

Interesting...hopefully he will able to keep it in operation and keep the animals in good health.
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Re: Hidden Valley Animal Adventure - Wyoming Co.

Postby Brenda » Fri Nov 13, 2009 3:31 pm

I was thinking the same thing. It could be a very cool attraction.
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Re: Hidden Valley Animal Adventure - Wyoming Co.

Postby Bill_K » Fri Nov 13, 2009 5:19 pm

Could make a nice outing next year.
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Re: Hidden Valley Animal Adventure - Wyoming Co.

Postby hobkyl » Sat Nov 14, 2009 3:19 pm

Bill_K wrote:Could make a nice outing next year.


I second that! I've got to get to one of these outings one of these days and meet you guys!
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Re: Hidden Valley Animal Adventure - Wyoming Co.

Postby Matt » Mon Apr 19, 2010 3:20 pm

Hidden Valley promises the exotic, close to home
VARYSBURG -- Hans Boxler's not a man to do things halfway.

It's Monday and final construction is under way at the Lodge on Royce Road. The building's spacious and appealing, and the work's come down to the "little" tasks -- things like carpet installation, landscaping and cosmetics.

The location will host its first wedding on May 1, meaning Boxler's longtime vision is about to become a reality.

"It's exciting and overwhelming," said his granddaughter Nichole Boxler, the Lodge's marketing director. "A little bit of both, you know? I know we can't wait until it just opens and we have people come in and see it -- open to the public."

The completion will mark the culmination of years of work for Boxler and his family. It's been a much-anticipated, new attraction for Wyoming County.

The family's hoping Hidden Valley Animal Adventure, the exotic animal park forming the major part of the operation, will open by June 1.

A longtime animal lover, Boxler, 74, started buying exotic animals in 2002. His intention was to collect elk and bison as a hobby.

They're pretty similar to farm animals in terms of care.

His hobby and menagerie kept growing, so he decided to open the animal park as a way to support the herds. And the idea kept growing.

Boxler set out to do things correctly, aiming for the best the area could enjoy. That meant beautifying the already-beautiful surroundings, including scenic landscaping, bridges and a pond.

He followed strenuous state requirements along the way, involving the Lodge's building and environmental codes. They've included everything from kitchen requirements to sprinkler systems.

Visitors will arrive at the building -- a Swiss-style chalet -- to start their journeys through the park. Besides serving as a boarding area, the Lodge will also function as a restaurant and banquet facility hosting weddings, conferences and other occasions.

"Naturally it's a good feeling to see it finally get completed," Boxler said. "It's been quite a struggle for five years. It's five years ago last month that I signed a contract for those timbers, and I'm not open yet -- but close."


more...

http://www.thedailynewsonline.com/artic ... 666368.txt
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Re: Hidden Valley Animal Adventure - Wyoming Co.

Postby Bill_K » Mon Apr 19, 2010 6:22 pm

So when is the outing?
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Re: Hidden Valley Animal Adventure - Wyoming Co.

Postby Matt » Tue Apr 20, 2010 12:41 pm

when it opens
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Re: Hidden Valley Animal Adventure - Wyoming Co.

Postby Matt » Thu Jul 29, 2010 2:18 pm

New Wyoming County tourist attraction a first-class facility...

It's something you don't expect to see while driving along rural Royce Road in Wyoming County, but the large, beautifully landscaped timber-built lodge adjoining a lake that's home to both black and white swans is just the tip of the iceberg.

Hidden Valley Animal Adventure in Varysburg is the vision of Hans Boxler Sr., a second-generation dairy farmer, who, now in his mid-70s, still works on a 1,900-head dairy farm with his sons. The Boxler farm consists of over 5,000 acres of gently rolling hills, fields, and wooded areas, and in 2005, ground was broken to develop approximately 125 of those acres for an exotic animal preserve.

Over 30 species of animals, including zebras, camels, llamas, wallaroos, buffalos, longhorn cattle, and others, can be observed by visitors that take the more than two-mile, guided trolley tour through the park.

When asked where he purchases such exotic creatures, Boxler says, "It's like any other hobby. If people know you're interested, it's surprising how much is out there."

Boxler's "hobby" began in 2002, when he purchased 18 buffalo and 26 elk. Realizing that, as with any other animal, there is a cost involved in feeding them, he decided that opening a facility to the public was not only a way to share his interest, but a way to help support it. Since then, he has continued to add animals he purchases at consignment auctions, from other animal parks, and from individuals. (One of the most recent acquisitions was a baby albino elk, born at the park earlier this month.)


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http://www.arcadeherald.com/articles/20 ... 664686.txt
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Re: Hidden Valley Animal Adventure - Wyoming Co.

Postby Matt » Wed Aug 04, 2010 10:39 am

Working on an outing... stay tuned.
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