A Wildlife Adventure at the Wildlife Sports and Educational Museum

Monday, August 21, 2023

 Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!  While that may have been a line from the 'Wizard of Oz', a similar line might be used to describe our latest discovery, the Wildlife Sports and Educational Museum.

Located on Route 30, just south of Route 29 in the hamlet of Vail Mills in the town of Mayfield, we first noticed the museum last summer on our visit to the Adirondack Animal Land.  The museum is just a mile down the road from the popular safari venue, which would have made it a great combo adventure had we stopped last year.  We didn't though, and it wasn't until I read a wonderful article in the 'Simply Saratoga' magazine that I realized what we missed.  Our summer bucket list with the grandkids this year included a visit to the Wildlife Museum and today we took that excursion, and all I can say is Wow.  The grands used that same expression and after the littlest made that exclamation, he followed it up with, "and I'm not even kidding".  

The Wildlife Museum is located inside what was once a Grand Union which Bob purchased in 2001. The building itself, though adorned with beautiful wildlife murals, does little to entice passerby or hint at the enormous variety of animals housed in these humble walls, but trust me, walking through the entrance was a little like opening Pandora's Box.  The website mentioned a variety of animals on display, including 160 white tail deer trophy mounts, buffalo, wolves and more, but it's the 'more' that kept us in a constant state of wonder as we wandered the huge display.  As if that weren't impressive enough, an additional 13,000 sq. ft of space has been added to include more North American and African mounts.  This addition doubled the museum's square footage.

How often does a kid (or an adult) get to stand next to an Alaskan Bear, rhino, or lion?  We've all seen these animals on tv and in books, but seeing wild animals up close was impressive and as the kids would say, COOL.  In addition to the animals, there were fish, birds and so much more.

The museum also boasts over 500 artifacts of traps, fishing gear, rifles and more arranged in exhibits throughout the Museum. The traditions and history of hunting, fishing and trapping dating back to colonial times are alive in these items.  There is also a very large gift shop, and chairs scattered throughout for anyone. young or old, who needed a rest during their exploration.  The brainchild of Bob Kazmierski, this museum has “the largest collection of mounted trophies of fish, birds and animals in New York State.”  A taxidermist and owner of a taxidermist supply company, Bob has invested over a million dollars into purchasing the vacant Grand Union and filling it with animals galore.  

The most difficult part of sharing this treasure is choosing 30 of the 200 photos I took.  Consequently, I'll probably post an album of many more photos on my Facebook page in the coming days: (https://www.facebook.com/GAWelter/

For now the museum is open every day through the end of August, 10:30-4:00pm.  Fall/Winter hours are every Saturday 10:30-4:00pm.  To call for information:  (518) 883-4933.  Admission is $10 for adults, 7-17 is $5.00 and 6 and under are free. After visiting today, I think it's the best deal around. What a great place to take the kids, or the sportsman you know! Field trip for the school kids....what a great idea.
And as a special treat, a commentary from a guest blogger, my granddaughter:
"For someone like me, I loved this place. My favorite movie since I was a kid and forever is Disney's 'The Lion King', and I've seen the play three times. I have always been very fascinated with the safari animals and I love collecting the Schleich figurines that were in 'The Lion King'. I was so excited to see the safari animals (mainly the lions) and was amazed to see how tall giraffes are. I was also intrigued by the other animals. There were just so so many deer. I couldn't believe how big the bear and moose were. It was very cool to see some of the animals that I have never seen before and so up close, and I very much enjoyed the experience."  

There you have it! I hope this encourages you to visit the museum before Labor Day or some weekend thereafter. I know you'll love it. We sure did! 
The Wildlife Sports and Education Museum is a non-profit educational institution whose mission it is to promote public understanding and appreciation of the outdoor sports, traditions of hunting, fishing and trapping and to preserve the art, artifacts and memorabilia associated with those traditions for future generations." - museum website (https://wildlifesportsmuseum.com/index.htm) or their Facebook page:

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