Hollywild founder discusses decision to reopen for holiday seaso - FOX Carolina 21

Hollywild founder discusses decision to reopen for holiday season

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Holiday Lights Safari at Hollywild (FOX Carolina) Holiday Lights Safari at Hollywild (FOX Carolina)
WELLFORD, SC (FOX Carolina) -

Looking around Hollywild Animal Park these days, you'll notice marked differences--different animals, a different layout, and a largely different atmosphere.

Founder David Meeks, who is over the park, says the closure for the 2017 season may have been a blessing in disguise.

"Since the park has been closed, we've done a lot of things that are better and nicer," said Meeks.

Hollywild itself announced earlier this year that it would close for the 2017 season after a series of layoffs and resignations, and a troubled history.

Since then, behind the gates, the crowds might not be there, but the animals still are.  Meeks said he feels a responsibility to the animals, which has increased and narrowed his focus since the closure.

"We've got a team here now, the one thing is they love the animals, and they work together, and we don't have deadlines.  9 o'clock this, 10 o'clock that.  The animals come first and we're having fun doing it," said Meeks.

Starting Friday, Hollywild plans to open its doors for the holiday season, giving the public a chance to get an up-close look lions, tigers, zebras, goats, and others.

Meeks said a lot of work has gone in to planning the brief re-opening, but there are no firm plans for a permanent re-opening after the park's Holiday Safari ends January 1.

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