Hollywild Animal Park is a 501c3 nonprofit animal park with a 40+ year history in the Upstate. Here, we provide a home and care for nearly 500 non-releasable animals native to five world continents. Hollywild’s Board of Directors and staff are committed to promoting conservation education through interactive and enlightening experiences for visitors whose admission assists in the Park’s efforts to continually improve the lives of its animals in an enriching and respectful manner.
We rely upon admissions and donations to meet our mission. We continue to seek partnerships, sponsorships and grants to help us build our community engagement, strengthen our organization, and build toward the future. We believe that by providing a visitor-friendly environment as we care for these amazing animals, we are spreading a message of conservation awareness, planting seeds for environmental stewardship, helping to teach younger generations that they can be engaged in protecting natural habitats for animals in the wild.
The Meeks' family involvement with animals began in the 1940's on their farm in rural Spartanburg County. (In fact, the park is located on their original home-site, but includes the acquisition of a few surrounding properties). Their collection contained typical farm animals, such as goats, cows, chickens and horses. It soon grew to include South Carolina native species such as squirrels, opossums, foxes and raccoons. Early on, David Meeks, the youngest son in the family, showed an affinity for animals and a powerful talent to handle and understand them. “It just comes naturally to me,” he said. “I can read an animal’s body language with ease.”
This talent and affinity led to a fortuitous event in college, when another student showed up with a chimpanze. When the friend was told the chimp had to go after destroying the room. David made a deal with his friend: Give me the chimpanzee, and I’ll repair the room. The exchange was the first step, which led to the fulfillment of David’s childhood dream of being able to work with animals from around the world.
Steadily, species by species, the backyard menagerie grew. As more and more strangers were attracted to the yard, the Meeks decided to structure their property in a way for people to enjoy it. In 1970, father and son opened the M & M Zoo, housing deer, swans, monkeys, capybaras, tigers, pheasants, lions, ducks, bears and otters. Donna (1967-2007), the Asian elephant, still one of the most beloved animals ever at Hollywild, also found her adoptive home in their back yard. It is not often one is called to adopt an elephant!