By Jeremy Elwood
Springfield Business Journal Staff
Exotic Animal Paradise’s new owners are planning a grand opening and ribbon-cutting in August for the attraction, which they bought in June 2006 and initially planned to close.
Tony and Lisa Ann Oddo purchased the drive-through zoo and animal park for an undisclosed amount from former owners Ron and Brenda Armitage.
Lisa Ann Oddo said original plans for the land had called for the park to be torn down to make way for a housing development and golf course.
“Luckily, we had so much land there that we were able to do the housing development and keep the park,” Oddo said, noting that the park had a quiet reopening in April. The grand opening celebration and ribbon-cutting is slated for Aug. 3.
Improvements are under way at the park, including a new restaurant, dubbed Paradise Café, and a new arcade, along with renovations to the Go Kart track. The familiar petting and drive-through zoo areas remain. Oddo added that other plans include the addition of miniature golf, batting cages and a catch-and-release bass fishing area.
Paradise Lake development also is in the early stages of development. Oddo said the 25-lot development would incorporate an already-open driving range and a planned nine-hole golf course.
“Things are coming together quickly,” Oddo said. “We’re really excited.”
The park’s hours are 8:30 a.m. to one hour before dusk. Its new phone number is (417) 859-5300.
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