New York State Tourism on Friday honored Jordan Patch, the owner of Animal Adventure Park, for making Harpursville a tourist haven. Patch bagged the award for “Excellence In Tourism In Private Sector” for his people-friendly marketing initiatives.

Animal Adventure Park, which has been open only for five short seasons, has grown every single year. 2017, in particular, has been phenomenal. Thanks to April the giraffe’s pregnancy that was live streamed on social media, the park garnered millions of fans — both online and offline. Watching April, Oliver and Baby Tajiri for many months created intimacy and emotional closeness among the fans Animal Adventure Park.

Today, the park’s Facebook page has over 17 million followers.

Jordan Patch misses the ceremony

Much to the disappointment of many, Patch could not make it to the NYS Awards ceremony. He was attending to his daughter Ava, who was admitted to a hospital in Philadelphia. The child suffers from a condition called Aicardi Syndrome, which results in multiple seizures in the form of infantile spasms. CHOP neurosurgeon Benjamin Kennedy performed the surgery, and Ava has been faring well. “She continues to be fever-free; fevers being a major concern for patients after brain surgery. Her pain is controlled and her personality starting to shine again,” wrote Jordan and his wife Colleen in their journal on CaringBridge.

How the giraffe family cracked up the audience

Patch may not have been physically present at the awards ceremony, but his virtual presence brightened up the room. A representative from Animal Adventure Park, who collected the award on his behalf, played an audio-visual message from the charismatic owner. Patch was not alone.

He was accompanied by April and Oliver. “All of us at Animal Adventure are honored to receive recognition for 2017 New York State Tourism Award. This year, we welcomed record crowds of around 200,000 visitors,” he said. He added that the park welcomed visitors from across the world including Europe, South America, Australia, and Canada.

During this acceptance speech, all eyes were on April and Oliver, who was trying to get into the frame with Patch.

Watch the video here:

“Jordan is a savvy business person. But what really drives Jordan is his love for animals, his belief in education in making people aware of the conservation efforts that need to be done. He used this stage beautifully to help to do that—make people more aware of the need for giraffes in the world. He saw an opportunity and used social media to educate people all the while he was entertaining them,” a representative of Animal Adventure Park told the audience.

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