Robert Beebe holds Caleb

Robert Beebe holds Caleb

Olympic Game Farm marks 40 years with expansion

SEQUIM — Marking the Olympic Game Farm’s 40 years as a Dungeness Valley tourist magnet, Robert Beebe, farm president, said the captive-bred animal park’s facilities have improved and are expanding to meet growing visitation.

Beebe, who took over the family-owned farm’s business operations in 2008, addressed more than 50 people at Tuesday’s Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce luncheon at SunLand Golf & Country Club.

He said overall revenues at the Ward Road park have increased 52 percent, which he attributed to aggressive marketing that is drawing larger crowds.

His grandfather, Lloyd Beebe, opened the farm to the public in 1972. Both Lloyd Beebe and wife, Catherine, died in 2011. Lloyd was 94, and Catherine was 88.

Robert Beebe said the farm has opened a new restaurant in partnership with Hardy’s Market of Sequim and Carlsborg, remodeled its gift shop and ticket booth, and improved its aquarium.

Animal shelters and enclosures have been upgraded, and a large lion and tiger enclosure are under construction, he said.

Beebe played a video that highlighted farm upgrades.

The game farm has seen 27,780 visitors to date this year, he said, which in trickle-down dollars “bleeds over to the business people in Sequim,” he said.

The game farm saw 65,080 visitors and 20,334 vehicles drive through the first year he took over the business operation to help his grandparents at their home overlooking the 80-acre farm, he said.

That compares with 83,271 visitors and 24,091 vehicles that last year drove through the farm that shelters lions, tigers, cougars, bears, yaks, llamas and a number of other animals normally seen in the wild.

To improve, expand and maintain the facility, Beebe said the farm since 2008 has spent $460,000 for local supplies.

The game farm will celebrate its 40th anniversary in August, he said, plans of which are to come.

It will be combined with a

fundraising event to help pay for expanded animal enclosures that have been built or are under construction.

“It’s a lot of work,” Beebe told the chamber audience. The animals require thousands of bales of hay grown on the farm or donated by neighbors who have fields but don’t need the feed.

“We’ve had a lot of support from our neighbors who learn from the fire marshal here that they have to cut their grass, whether they use it to feed animals or not,” Beebe said.

The farm’s animals also go through about 100 loaves of wheat bread each week, according to Beebe.

Rabbits and peacocks have been dropped off there overnight, he said, and his staff routinely checks fencing around the farm’s perimeter to ensure that wild predators such as coyotes are not sneaking in to attack animals.

The aquarium is now stocked with large trout, steelhead and sturgeon.

“Some are spawning now, which shows you something’s been done right for them to do that,” he said.

Tours have been expanded in recent years with the addition of a walking tour and a mini-tour that includes the game farm’s “studio barn.”

Built in 1862, the studio barn is still home to Disney movie sets such as the original cave scene of “Those Calloways.”

The barn is full of props, lights, antiques and memorabilia of the filming days that Lloyd Beebe inherited in 1972 when Disney founder Walt Disney’s brother, Roy Disney, died.

The farmland originally started as a filming location for Walt Disney in the early 1950s — formally called Disney’s Wild Animal Ranch.

In the summer of 1972, Lloyd and Catherine Beebe officially opened the game farm to the public as a business.

Filming continued there until the late 1990s.

Movies included “The Vanishing Prairie” and “The Incredible Journey” — the first films on the farm — as well as “Charlie the Lonesome Cougar,” “King of the Grizzlies,” “Never Cry Wolf” and many other Disney films and Disney’s “True-Life Adventures” documentaries.

Television shows shot there were “Grizzly Adams,” “The Beachcombers” and “Northern Exposure,” with cameos in many other shows.

Lloyd was also an adviser to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Washington state Department of Fish and Wildlife and others in wildlife conservation, rehabilitation and animal housing facility design.


Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Jeff Chew can be reached at 360-681-2390 or at [email protected]

More in News

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News

Port Angeles Police Detective Trevor Dropp, left, and Sgt. Kevin Miller keep watch at The Gateway in downtown Port Angeles after a suspicious package was found at the Port Angeles Farmers Market on Saturday morning. The market was evacuated and the 200 block of North Lincoln Street was barricaded until a Washington State Patrol bomb squad arrived from Bremerton early Saturday afternoon.
Suspicous package found to be no threat

Farmers market in Port Angeles closed until bomb squad could arrive

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Freia Palmer of Port Angeles and Tom Cox of Port Townsend dance to the music of Olympic Express Big Band during Wednesday night's kickoff show in the Concerts on the Pier music series at Port Angeles City Pier. The free summer music series, hosted by the Juan de Fuca Foundation for the Arts and sponsored by Erika Ralston Word Windemere Real Estate, D.A. Davidson & Co., Elwha River Casino, Washington State Department of Commerce and the Peninsula Daily News, continues at 6 p.m. next Wednesday with the classic rock of Sweet Justice.
Free outdoor concerts set throughout summer

Outdoor summer concerts are back in full swing in Port Angeles, Sequim… Continue reading

Forestry, no shooting area before counties

Government meetings in Clallam, Jefferson counties

Health officer: Wear masks indoors

Covid tranmission remains high on Peninsula

Paul Dunn/Peninsula Daily News
In an effort to clean up its site due in part to illegal dumping, Midway Metals, at 258010 U.S. Highway 101 between Sequim and Port Angeles, shut down in April 2021 over environmental concerns and an unsightly appearance that prompted Clallam County officials to call it an eyesore.
Criminal action sought for Midway Metals

Sheriff requests charge for illegal dumping

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
A crew applies a sponsorship logo on the riding surface of a new pump track at Erickson Playfied in Port Angeles on Friday in preparation for the grand opening on Wednesday.
Port Angeles’ pump track opens next week

Track measures 14,442 square feet

Steve Mullensky/for Peninsula Daily News

The tug Red Bluff moves the Western Flyer out of the Port Townsend Boat Haven on Thursday and was towed to Seattle for the installation of an engine and other components.
Western Flyer sails again

Boat made famous by John Steinbeck has been under restoration in Port Townsend

Cmdr. Joan Snaith, outgoing commanding officer of U.S. Coast Guard Air Station/Sector Field Office Port Angeles, left, and incoming officer Cmdr. Brent Schmadeke stand on the tarmac after Thursday’s unconventional change of command ceremony that took place during a helicopter flyby at the base. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
A change in change-of-command ceremony

Former commanding officer promoted to captain

OMC says it’s ready for Fourth

Emergency department to be fully staffed, it announces

Most Read