|September 1959 newspaper ad|
A friend of mine took their daughter there a few weeks ago and it sounds like it hasn't changed since my family went there in the late 60s – which is refreshing.
The article below – which appeared in the Toledo Blade on September 3, 1968 includes a little bit of history about the place and what the idea was behind it.
****Cougar Calls Castalia Home
Bottle-Fed Cuddly Cub Dubbed Tabatha Lives in Park
By BETH CLARK
Blade Staff Writer
CASTALIA, O. – A mountain lion has taken up residence in Castalia.
The cat, also known as a cougar or puma, lives in Deer Park, owned by Herbert Nielsen. Mr Nielsen's daughter, Debbie, had always wanted a mountain lion cub at the park, so Mr. Nielsen arranged to have one flown here from a Bismarck, N.D., zoo.
The mountain lion, named Tabatha by Miss Nielsen, is about one foot long and weighs about four pounds. She has been rendered almost totally harmless to humans, at least for the present, by the removal of her claws.
Fed By Bottle
Mr. Nielsen said that his daughter feeds Tabatha with a bottle. Scratches and cuts from Tabatha's claws marked Miss Nielsen's arms until the claws were removed. Tabatha eats baby formula fortified with pablum and occasionally canned cat food.
|CASTALIA GIRL ROMPS WITH MINI-MOUNTAIN LION|
Miss Nielsen makes sure that Tabatha gets the proper exercise
(Blade Photo by John Collier)
Tabatha was cared for by two Bellevue veterinarians, Drs. John Maike and Duane Mansperger, until she would take food naturally. She was force-fed goat's milk through a nose tube, similar to those used to feed premature babies.
Tabatha is about three months old now and in about three years, when she is full grown, she will weigh about 175 pounds.
Variety of Residents
Tabatha joins a large variety of residents at the park. Mr. Nielsen's park houses llamas. mountain sheep, deer, elk, bison, reindeer, blue goats, Abyssinian donkeys, rare four-horned sheep, and even a baby elephant.
The elephant is 39 inches tall and will be traded back to an animal dealer at the end of next summer for another baby elephant.
Mr. Nielsen, who originated the children's park 12 years ago, said that Tabatha will be tamed by handling as she matures. He said that she will present no danger to park visitors.
The park was originated to provide entertainment for the families of fishermen. Mr. Nielsen said that he operated stocked lakes for several years. He began to realize that when the husbands went fishing, there was nothing for their wives and children to do.
He saw an advertisement for a deer park in Michigan, visited it, and liked it enough to start his own park. His modest beginning with 38 deer and 2 llamas has expanded to a well-known family entertainment spot in an area known for its vacation advantages.
Here's a vintage image of Deer Park to rekindle your memories. The photo and caption below are courtesy of the Arcadia book Castalia, Cold Creek and the Blue Hole.