The Catskill Game Farm was opened in 1933 by Roland Lindemann, and was still owned by the Lindemann family, as Catskill Game Farm Inc. at the time of its closing. At first, it held only deer, donkeys and sheep. In 1958, the United States Department of Agriculture recognized Catskill as a zoo, and it became the first privately-owned venture to achieve such status. The collection was now allowed to grow more exotic and at the time of its closing played host to roughly 2,000 animals from over 150 species, imported from around the world.
The zoo spanned more than 914 acres (370 ha), most of which was used to breed animals for other zoos worldwide. Only about 136 acres (55 ha) was available for public viewing, and then only in the summer and autumn.
On August 2, 2006, the Catskill Game Farm announced that it would be closing on Columbus Day of that year, ending its 73-year run. Its owners attributed the closing to mounting financial difficulties, dropping attendance, and legal regulations leading to the shutdown of its Splashdown attraction, though Splashdown itself never violated regulations.