Holly Wild Animal Park
The Meeks' family involvement with animals began in the 1940's on their farm in rural Spartanburg County. (In fact, the park is located on their original home-site, but includes the acquisition of a few surrounding properties). Their collection contained typical farm animals, such as goats, cows, chickens and horses. It soon grew to include South Carolina native species such as squirrels, opossums, foxes and raccoons. Early on, David Meeks, the youngest son in the family, showed an affinity for animals and a powerful talent to handle and understand them. “It just comes naturally to me,” he said. “I can read an animal’s body language with ease.”
This talent and affinity led to a fortuitous event in college, when David’s assigned roommate showed up with a monkey. After the monkey destroyed their dorm room, David made a deal with his roommate: Give me the monkey, and I’ll repair the room. The exchange was the first step, which led to the fulfillment of David’s childhood dream of being able to work with animals from around the world.
Steadily, species by species, the backyard menagerie grew. As more and more strangers were attracted to the yard, the Meeks decided to structure their property in a way for people to enjoy it. In 1970, father and son opened the M & M Zoo, housing deer, swans, monkeys, capybaras, tigers, pheasants, lions, ducks, bears and otters. Donna (1967-2007), the Asian elephant, still one of the most beloved animals ever at Hollywild, also found her adoptive home in their back yard. It is not often one is called to adopt an elephant!
Hollywild Animal Park is committed to providing an interactive and enlightening experience for our visitors, as we continually improve the lives of our animals in an enriching and respectful environment.
Love it! Great Fun for the entire family! Be sure and take advantage of the Family package offered to save on the Hollywood Christmas Lights Safari. It's load's of fun all season long.
This place is great! We recently went to the Christmas light show they have and it was wonderful, except the deer drive through thing. That was disappointing. The food they gave us, none of the animals wanted it. And they warned us ahead of time not to feed the animals food we brought - but I witnessed no less than 5 people doing so with in eyesight of employees. And, because the animals want the most delicious food, they were swarmed with all the animals. Really, if they're going to charge so much extra for the deer park it needs to be worth it. (BTW, we got there 30 minutes after they opened on a Tuesday - it's not like it was at the end of the night on Saturday when the animals would be full.) We won't be doing the deer park again any time soon. The signs were confusing, too. It was hard to figure out where to go. I'd love to see an improvement on directions. Mostly it was hard to even find the sign that pointed where to go. Those really need to be lit up in red or stand out in some way. With that said, we will be going back for the petting zoo. That is always a blast! (Although, don't bother with the baby bottles - no animal wants those either!). The animals are friendly and there are a few places you can go inside and see the baby animals. There were also pony rides which my kids absolutely loved. Overall, we will be back again next year. Of the available paid light shows in our area, this is one of the best.
Hats off to this company that tescues retired Hollywood animal actors. They may get heat from PETA people, but none of them are willing to take care of these animals. The best thing about Hollywild is their Christmas light display. It is low budget but a lot of fun. My adult kids still go there. Be sure to pay extra to "see the deer". It leads into a large bow-shaped meadow with deer and other animals, like llamas, huge oxen and others. You will laugh out loud when a deer or cow sticks their big head and tongue inside your cat (tip:. Brins some fruit to supplement the bread they give you when you pay the fee to this portion of your visit). This is a great family activity. The sell refreshments, which is welcome in the winter.
This is a wonderful place to take your family of all ages. I work there during the summer and winter of 2016 and i can tell you, the people that work there care so much about the animals and customers. During the summer months you can tour the park, enjoy creature presentations, and take safari rides. Come November you can ride through the park in your car and see all the lights our staff and volunteers have spent months preparing. Once you see the lights you head on to Santa's village and feed animals, meet Santa, and even roast marshmallows around the fire. They work really hard to make sure you have a great time with your family and even learn a thing or two about wildlife in the process. They rely on donations to survive so its up to our community to keep the animals happy and healthy through visiting and donating. You can even volunteer by filling out a form on the website! (It has been a joy for me to be able to become a part of their family). You really will not be disappointed.
If I had a $1 for ever strand of lights that were out or display that didn't function, it'd have been a very profitable trip. Animals were neat. Kids enjoyed it. But not much sticking power. We were ready to go after a hour.