WALL — PETA has a unique idea for the Circus Drive-In, which has been put up for sale after 62 years in business — an "empathy museum focusing on animals who suffer when exploited for entertainment in circuses."

Spokesman David Perle said the group sent a letter to Gerard Norkus, senior vice president of Harold Wien Real Estate, who is handling the sale of the iconic restaurant on Route 35 in Wall Township. PETA proposed a museum that would showcase the capture of wild animals such as tigers and elephants, as well as whips, chains, tiny cages, flaming hoops, and other implements.

"Would we be able to lease this property over the long-term at a very modest amount so that it could be established as a local museum and vegan restaurant that would inspire residents and tourists to practice compassion?" the group asked in the letter.

Perle said a vegan restaurant and snack shop would be built to replace the Jersey Shore landmark,and would sell products such as animal crackers that don't feature caged tigers or other captive animals. The museum would also display a life-size model of the dark, cramped boxcars PETA said was used to transport frightened animals across the country.

The proposed museum would "inspire residents and tourists to practice compassion," PETA President Ingrid Newkirk said.

"Children would see that the chains and cages in circuses deprive animals of everything that's natural and important them, from the ability to play and socialize to the simple act of stretching their limbsm" Newkirk

Norkus acknowledged receipt of the lette: "it's not gonna happen. I represent this owner to get the highest and best use of the property."

Selling or leasing the property to PETA "not in the best interest of my client," according to Norkus.

A sign went up around Christmas announcing the sale or lease of the 1.64 acre property, which would put the restaurant out of business. “(Owner Chuck Kavinsky)  would consider a sale but that’s not what he would prefer,” Norkus said.

Many have inquired about keeping the Circus open, according to Norkus, and several serious offers have been received, he said.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.

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