Upstate Urban Legends: Are Endangered Animals Living Inside Jungleland?
I saw an interesting thread pop up on a Facebook group and it seemed to pique the curiosity of many people in Upstate New York, not just me.
Someone heard a rumor about "endangered animals" living on the property of the Great Escape where a now-defunct Jungle Land sits.
I'm not sure how many of you remember the African-themed Jungle Land, but I sure do. As a kid, I enjoyed the rickety bridge over the swap-like waters, the robotic elephant, and that massive gorilla that greeted you. I can still hear the jungle man saying, "You like my jungle?"
I did like your jungle, sir. Probably more than most. Jungle Land went away in the mid-2000s, and many people- like me - have a strong nostalgic connection to it.
So what's the deal with Jungle Land? Is it protected by the DEC and home to real-life endangered animals? Are there future plans to build on it?
Those questions and more were asked on a Facebook page dedicated to Story Town and Great Escape nostalgia called Storytown USA (The original group).
Layla Zito, a frequent contributor to the page, had a few burning questions in regards to Jungle Land and was willing to put in the work to find some answers to the long-time rumors.
Layla spoke with the New York State DEC and claimed they know nothing of the sort, insisting that if Jungle Land was situated on the protected property, the DEC would know.
What about plans to build on Jungle Land down the road?
"I just got off the phone with Beth, who said that she is not aware of this at all (endangered species on the property). She also stated that any type of improvements or fixing up would need to go through her office and the park has not approached her about doing any repairs on it as of today either."
So there you have it. No, there aren't any real-life endangered species living on the grounds of the Great Escape, and according to the DEC, there don't appear to be any plans to reintroduce Jungle Land or build a new attraction in its place.