Sunday, August 2, 2009
Spartanburg County Zoo for Famous Animals Gets New Star
Hollywild Animal park, in northwest Spartanburg county, is preparing to welcome possibly its most famous addition to date. Known for housing some of the most famous creatures that have ever been in television and movies, the parks Cinema Animal Talent agency often provides rare and unusual animals for film productions, commercials and special events.
Some of their more recognizable critters include Tank, the only celebrity white rhino in the US, the monkeys from the Pipi Longstockings film, and the Zebra from that B-52's music video.
The Hollywild staff has been especially aflutter with excitement this week making preparations for its newest and brightest celebrity star, Grover, from the iconic television series Sesame Street.
"Grover's is a sad story of sorts" Dennis Hodges, operation supervisor of the park explains. "This is virtually a last resort for the once thriving megastar. After traveling the country for years, having some of the greatest adventures ever documented on prime time TV, and with a long history of theatrical performance, he has agreed to join the Hollywild family as a court mandated condition of his extended probation."
Two years ago, you may remember Grover being in the news facing charges of fraud, money laundering, and embezzlement on a massive scale. He was sentenced to three consecutive life sentences for a ponzi scheme that made ENRON look like nothing more then a bounced check. His fame allegedly granted him insider access with New York's mafia crime syndicate, Mexico's most elite drug cartels, and even some of the top bankers at the Vatican in Rome. He was virtually a kingpin in an international conspiracy the likes of which has never been seen in history.
I asked Mr. Hodges what special preparations are being made for Grover's arrival that he can share with us. "Well, something new that may take some getting used to for visitors is the presence of armed guards around the perimeter of the park, and the security checkpoints with metal detectors that are being set up as well." he said. "It's just a precautionary measure, we don't really expect any trouble out of him."
When asked about the looming guard towers and electric razor wire being installed, Hodges had this to say. "It may seem like a little much at first, but we feel we can still maintain a suitable family environment for our visitors to feel comfortable, but mainly they'll know that they are safe and secure under the watchful eye of multi-jurisdictional task force agents patrolling the grounds."
When asked exactly what kind animal Grover is, Hodges shrugged his shoulders and said, "Beats me, all I know is he's sure to bring in business by the busload. We're thrilled to have him aboard."
Grover will do three performances a day in his indefinite stay at Hollywild, entertaining children and adults alike. Every Saturday he will be teaching classes on the art of mime and making balloon animals, and Sundays he is expected to perform a special three hour show which will vary from week to week, showcasing his own creative talents.
"We think it's important to keep him busy working on his art, that way he has less time to conjure up schemes which may include any sort of criminal activity." Hodges added. "Of course, we'll be monitoring him 24/7, especially when he interacts with the children. Guards will always be an earshot away, prepared to use lethal force if necessary."
So pack a picnic lunch, or plan on dining at one of the Hollywild concession complexes. The kids will be thrilled to see the lovable Grover in the flesh, or fuzz rather. Be sure to leave cellphones, cameras, video or audio recording devices of any kind at home, and anything that could possibly be mistaken for a weapon. Come out with the kids and plan on having a great time at the newly renovated Hollywild Animal Park. You'll be glad you did.