Last week, we made a trip up to West Orange, NJ to visit the Turtle Back Zoo. I hadn’t been to this zoo since I was a camp counselor, and had to lug all of my rambunctious camp kids through the exhibits. Needless to say, I’d only had memories of hard labor when it came to this place. It was pleasant to see that there had been lots of changes to this attraction.
I took the kiddos all by my lonesome to the zoo. Now, if Turtle Back had been a large place, I would not have survived the day. While the zoo is substantial, Turtle Back gives you the feel of a small zoo with a big impact. While the animals were plentiful, we didn’t feel as if we were lost in a sea of exhibits. We went at our own pace, and I took the opportunity to let the kids direct our journey, letting me know which animals they’d like to see.
The crane was a favorite of Sonny, along with the sleeping wolves and the black bears. The Gibbon monkeys were adorable (and loud) and all three of us really enjoyed the reptile house.
(Update: Alicia from TBZ left an awesome comment below and let me know that the Gibbons are actually Apes! Thanks Alicia!)
The day was a bit warm, so our trip into The Reptile House was a welcome treat. The last time I visited Turtle Back Zoo, this exhibit didn’t exist, so I was very excited to see it. We viewed the Komodo dragon, lots of frogs and lake dwellers.
Our all-time favorite animal in the reptile house was the Python named Angie. Angie gave all the kids a “dance” and was very lively. I’d never seen a snake be so animated in an exhibit and it really made our trip memorable.
A ride on the Turtle Back train was needed before we left the park. While the kids were pretty tired, they begged to get in a quick trip around the tracks. It was extremely cute and the breeze was a welcomed addition to the hot and humid day. Speaking of which, Turtle Back Zoo offers small misting machines all over the park on warm days. How cool is that?
Before we left, we were surprised to see one of the two Peacocks that strut around the park. We were told that they do walk around the park at their leisure, but hadn’t seen them most of the day.
This handsome guy walked right up to Sonny, Duchess and me. He didn’t show off his feathers, but we were still pleased to see him up close.
Although we only stayed a few hours, The kids got to see some of their favorite animals, choose some new ones to love, played at the playground, ride on the carousel, have a picnic lunch with Mom and it was all done for under 20 dollars. I see this as a go-to summer trip from now on. Hey, maybe we’ll take Dad with us next time. The Husband deserves to see a dancing snake too, right?