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A Guide to Zoos for Visitors and Residents in New Jersey
A zoo in New Jersey is a serene oasis in a stressful society. Visiting a zoo is like entering a wondrous animal kingdom where creatures of all sizes and shapes scamper in enclosures designed to shelter and protect them. A zoo is quite a learning experience in why these creatures should be protected, especially endangered species. And what a variety of zoos there are in New Jersey! There are conventional zoos, like the Turtle Back Zoo, and specialized zoos, like Six Flags/Safari Off Adventure. This guide explains what is distinctive about each of the cited zoos in New Jersey.
Located at 707 Route 9 North in Cape May Court House, this zoo has an impressive collection of zoological specimens: more than 550 animals, belonging to more than 250 species. The bald eagle habitat exhibits the United States’s national bird. A family of the endangered ring-tail lemurs flourishes due to careful breeding. The Cape May County Park & Zoo is free to all visitors, although donations are encouraged. Visiting families can also take their children to the playgrounds just outside the Zoo entrance. There’s even a fishing pond for people who enjoy catching native aquatic specimens. https://www.capemaycountynj.gov/1008/Park-Zoo
Popcorn Park Refuge is at 1 Humane Way in the town of Forked River. The name is derived from the refreshment on sale in the picnic area. Popcorn Park Refuge originated in 1977 to shelter a raccoon who was freed from a leg-hold trap. Today, it houses a variety of rescued animals. Some have been abused or injured, while others were inappropriately used as domestic pets, and still others have physical handicaps. Visitors donate a small admission fee to benefit the animals, but children under three are free.
At 560 Northfield Avenue in West Orange, the Turtle Back Zoo consists of twenty acres of attractions for the whole family. It houses more than 150 species of animals. Visitors who want to rest their feet can take a miniature train. Children can ride on the endangered species carousel, on vehicles crafted to resemble 30 vanishing animal species such as the panda and the snow leopard. There are other fun activities. People can feed more than 400 free flight birds in the aviary, such as Australian grass parakeets and laughing kookaburras, also native to Australia. They can also marvel at the butterflies in the butterfly tent, a 100-foot long tent containing blossoming plants. Children will savor observing the creatures’ development from eggs to caterpillars to butterflies!
Located at 216 Forest Avenue in Paramus, this zoo exhibits animals native to North, Central and South America. Besides observing such New World wildlife like the American bison, the spider monkey, and the Andean condor in enclosures that simulate their natural habitats, families can also enjoy hands-on activities and live animal shows in the amphitheater. There’s an area called the Learning Log where children can crawl under a fallen tree and examine insects and bugs. As in the Turtle Back Zoo, visitors tired of walking can ride a miniature train.
Located at 45 Mayor Aitken Drive in Bridgeton, this attraction enjoys the distinction of being New Jersey’s oldest zoo, in existence since 1934. Relatively small (approximately 15 acres), it houses fascinating animals from all over the world, such as the Asiatic black bear, the white-handed gibbon, and the fishing cat. Like the Cape May County Park & Zoo, the Cohanzick Zoo is free of charge. Donations, however, are encouraged for the Cohanzick Zoological Society, which funds the zoo.
This attraction is at 218 Route 519 in Sussex. Of all the zoos in North America, this one boasts the largest collection of North American animals. It also showcases animals from others part of the world, like lions, hyenas and tigers. Space Farms even has a special exhibit consisting exclusively of baby animals called Pop Pop’s Barnyard Nursery. In this exhibit, young visitors are encouraged to hold a bottle feeding lambs, kids, and fawns. Tourists can not only have fun studying the wildlife but they can also enjoy the Space Farms Museum, showcasing all kinds of artifacts from antique cars to antique firearms.
At 1 Goldmine Road in Flanders, this indoor zoo is home to all kinds of creatures from a Burmese python to a chinchilla. People who come to Rizzo’s, particularly youngsters, can interact with the animals, feeding, touching and even holding them. The ferrets are particularly appealing- the zoo provides what it calls ferret fun time for visitors. Rizzo’s Wildlife World also has an impressive collection of aquatic specimens from all over the world swimming and floating in over two thousand gallons of water. The public can also enjoy 45-minute wildlife shows.
Located at 1 Six Flags Boulevard in Jackson, New Jersey’s sole wildlife safari is the largest one outside of Africa. Over a thousand animals of diverse species from all over the world roam in this area, such as the African elephant, the ostrich, and the red kangaroo. Visitors are transported in open air trucks throughout the area in close proximity to the creatures as they frolic through ponds, hills, and jagged landscape in a meticulously simulated jungle environment. The main stop for the visitors is Camp Aventura where they can interact with a variety of exotic animals like giraffes and Vietnamese potbellied pigs. They can even stay overnight in the safari to observe how the wildlife functions in the twilight hours.
New Jersey has an impressive selection of zoological exhibits, each with unique qualities. Whether or not visitors are traveling alone in or a group, they will savor these attractions and cherish the memories. They will also develop a greater understanding of the need for animal conservation.