Thursday, October 13, 2011

Turtle Back Zoo - amazing local resource!

I live about 6 miles from the Turtle Back Zoo in West Orange, NJ.  It is centrally located to several highways and only about 15 miles from NYC.  I always say I want to get a family membership so that I can go all the time, but I never do.  But I do like to take Lilly when I can.

I remember going there as a little girl and loving it.  And it was a good zoo.  Not fabulous, but there were plenty of things for kids to do, including feed and pet the goats and sheep.  As I grew older I realized that the "zoo climate" so to speak, was changing.  There were less concrete and steel enclosures and more natural-looking habitats.  Well, TBZ started to join in this movement.

It seems that they (the zoo) have been gradually improving and modernizing the exhibits.  There is a new large cat exhibit slated to open soon and the new monkey exhibit is AMAZING!  One of the great things about TBZ is that it is perfect for little ones like Lilly (age 3) because you can see the whole zoo in one day.  We actually did not see everything on our last visit.  We saw a lot but she was getting tired and it was not worth pushing the envelope.  And because it is so close and relatively inexpensive, I don't mind not seeing everything all at once.

You do have to watch costs if you do not have a family membership.  The little things can add up:
1 adult $10.00
1 child $7.00
Pony ride $2.00
Carousel $2.00
Train ride FREE
1 hot dog $3.75
Tokens for animal feed $0.50
Bird stick $2.00 (I think.  We did not feed the birds.  And now I am singing the song from Mary Poppins.)

So as you can see, it could add up.  But it doesn't have to.  I meant to bring a sandwich but then forgot.
I did bring water and snacks with me.  I did not give in to the ice cream, picture by the train and countless other stands along the way.  That is a new feature since I have last been to the zoo.  My mom skills had to quickly adjust to the ice cream/hot pretzel/lemonade temptations.  :)  Distraction is such a key mom skill to have mastered!

I have no connection to the zoo other then wanting to see it succeed.  I personally love the zoo, any zoo, in the fall and in the spring.  Now is a great time to go because it is not roasting hot and there is often a nice cool breeze.  TBZ is tucked into the side of South Mountain Reservation and the foliage can be quite impressive.  I hope that we have less snow this winter because I think it would be fun to check it out then!  As another aside, the time before last we went to the zoo it was late afternoon and ALL the animals were out and about.  We also saw them being fed the time before last.  The docents and zoo keepers are all very willing to share information with anyone who wants it.
Red panda <3

Pony ride fun

the impressive white wolf

riding the wild animal carousel

gibbons swinging around

and the leaf changing has begun!
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