A POPULAR tourist attraction that houses hundreds of rare-breed animals several miles outside Omagh has been closed until next spring, its owner confirmed this week.
Back in October, Mellon Fun Farm, located on an 18-acre site between Omagh and Newtownstewart, had announced plans for a series of festive events in the run-up to Christmas, that were due to start on last Saturday (December 7) with the arrival of Santa Claus.
But these events have been cancelled and, over the weekend, the status on the farm’s Facebook page changed to ‘permanently closed’.
Speaking to the Ulster Herald owner David Booth confirmed that the premises had now closed for winter, but added that it would be opening again in the springtime.
Mr Booth and his family opened Mellon Fun Farm to the public in the summer of 2013, claiming that it offered the largest variety of rare-breed and exotic animals in the North West. Among those on display were Pygmy goats, the smallest in the world, rhea birds, which are part of the ostrich family, a llama from Peru, American racoons and a wide range of rare pigs, goats, deer and birds.
The open farm, which also has a café, indoor and outdoor play areas, has proven popular with local families. In previous years, the attraction had hosted festive activities in the month before Christmas.
In January this year, Mr Booth and his wife Sharon revealed that they were planning to develop a four-lane bowling alley at a site adjacent to Mellon Fun Farm. It was claimed that the new amenity would potentially attract 15,000 people every year.
By giving it the green light, councillors overturned the recommendation of planning officials, who had been proposing that the bowling alley should be refused permission to proceed.