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Natchitoches Alligator Park closing permanently; owner selling park and animals

KALB
KALB(KALB)
Published: May. 29, 2020 at 8:17 AM CDT
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Everyone has been affected by COVID-19 in one way or another. The virus has caused many small businesses across the country to close.

One park in Natchitoches has made the ultimate decision to shut down for good.

Natchitoches Alligator Park publicly made the decision earlier this week saying, "I'm sorry but due to the coronavirus and having to be closed for half our season, we have decided to be closed permanently."

In the Facebook post, Owner Terry Rogers goes on to say, "We feel like this is the right time for this decision and we thank you for understanding."

Emus, deer, goats, mini horses and hundreds of alligators, 400 to be exact, all call the Natchitoches Alligator Park home.

"They're like pets to me even though they're 16 foot long and weigh a thousand pounds, they're still like pets because we raised them," said Rogers.

For the past 24 years, people have been coming from all over to see just what the alligator park is all about.

"I think sometimes we had 800 people a day here," said Rogers.

Rogers built the park from the ground up.

"And this is where the goats stay and these are our two little mini horses," said Rogers.

Every day, he's used to interacting with thousands of people.

"They've brought their kids, their grandkids, they came as a kid, we used to get school groups out here like five, six hundred every day," said Rogers.

But now, devastation.

"It's the perfect time to close I guess," said Rogers.

COVID-19 has forced Rogers to shut down the zoo for good.

"There's a whole winter that we haven't had anybody then half the summer we haven't had anybody. And now to open for two months, just not worth it," said Rogers.

The park is only open from April 1 until the middle of October.

Because of social distancing and capacity guidelines, Rogers says the revenue wouldn't be enough to keep them open.

"On that amount, we just couldn't pay the help or feed the animals and make it so we decided."

A decision Rogers says wasn't easy to make.

"It really is sad. Something that's lost forever," he said. "At 71 I'm ready to retire. I'll miss these guys, they're like pets to me."

The entire park is for sale. Whoever buys the park will also get all of the alligators.

Until the park does sell, all alligators will remain in place and Rogers will continue to feed them.

All other animals are for sale and gift shop merchandise is available for sale in bulk.

Any questions or comments can be directed to the park via email at

bpap@alligatorpark.net

or by phone at

318-354-0001

.

Copyright 2020 KALB. All rights reserved.

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