Next to eating, there are a few things that we as a family love to do, and that’s travelling, and visiting a zoo and/or aquarium. Two weekends ago my husband took our four-year-old daughter and myself on a surprise [53 mile] road trip to spend the afternoon at the Turtle Back Zoo located in West Orange, New Jersey.
This was our first time visiting Turtle Back Zoo, the #1 voted best zoo in New Jersey. After visiting, I understood why the zoo claimed the #1 spot.
Turtle Back Zoo, although not as large as our “home” zoo, is a nice sized zoo with 15 exhibits to showcase, what I’d say is a pretty good variety of animals both large and small. It was easy to get around with our four year old, even without the stroller that we forgot to bring. There were animals that I didn't expect to see at this particular zoo like an Amur Leopard, Great Gray Kangaroos, and Capybara.
This Turtle Back Zoo had plenty of activities and hands-on exhibits. Of the ones we tried, the butterfly exhibit was pretty good; however, our daughter loved the outdoor aviary, home to 500 free-flight Australian grass parakeets that she was able to feed with bird feed [on a stick] purchased for $2. Imagine the joy a four-year-old feels when she’s feeding three to four birds at a time. Our hearts were happy she had fun during this experience. My husband also seemed to have as much fun as she; he’s a big kid.
The Turtle Back Zoo has a free train ride that takes visitors through the South Mountain Reservation. However, due to long lines, we were not able ride. Maybe next time during a weekday visit when it’s less crowded, right? There’s also a playground featuring oversized dinosaurs and plenty of climbing structures.
The Turtle Back Zoo has a few rides that can cost an additional $2 on top of your entry fee. These rides include:
- Endangered Species Carousel
- Pony Rides
With affordable admission prices, fun hands-on activities, and cool animal exhibits, I'd definitely recommend visiting the Turtle Back Zoo. Plus, they're working on adding a Giraffe exhibit, which I'm sure we will make a return visit for. The next time you're planning your next family road trip or outing, be sure to keep the Turtle Back Zoo in mind, especially if you have younger kids. It’s not only fun for kids, but also a great experience for the family as a whole.
For more information on the Turtle Back Zoo, along with admissions prices per season, visit http://turtlebackzoo.com/admission-hours/.
Turtle Back Zoo
560 Northfield Ave
West Orange, NJ 07052
P: (973) 731-5800
P: (973) 731-5800
Hours: Monday – Saturday: 10:00 am – 4:30 pm | Sunday: 11:00 am – 5:30 pm
*Park remains open for 1/2 hour after last admission*
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Disclosure: All opinions are my own and are honest. No compensation of any kind was received for this review.