Wild About Animals Guide
Photo by Instagrammer mallorygermer
The warm weather is approaching, and we are absolutely here for it! Doing safe activities in the fresh spring air with others has been such a great feeling, and will only continue as we move into the summer months. Pretty soon, the school year will end, and keeping our children intellectually engaged in safe group settings will fall directly onto parents who are already feeling the fatigue of a whole year of hybrid school.
We want to take away some of that stress and jumpstart ideas for safe activities for kids this summer, both indoor and outdoor! Animals have always been a source of such fun for all ages, and New Jersey is home to many zoos, petting zoos, and aquariums to enjoy.
We put together a list of four highly recommended New Jersey based zoos and aquariums to explore with the family this summer. If you end up at one of them, make sure to take a photo and tag us (link to IG page) ! #SEARCHtheBurbs
Essex County Turtle Back Zoo
The Essex County Turtle Back Zoo has been rated with a Certificate of Excellence by Trip
Advisor, constantly programs a variety of events, and has both in-person and virtual offerings for summer camp this year. It is run by the Essex County Park Department in West Orange. You can visit their new Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Center, The Butterfly Tent, wildlife specific to New Jersey -- and more! The zoo is very reasonably priced ($17 for adults, $14 for children) and is open from 10 AM - 4 PM everyday.
For more information, check out their website here: https://turtlebackzoo.com
For a specifically nautical experience, Adventure Aquarium in Camden is where you should be! The aquarium has also been issued a Certificate of Excellence by Trip Advisor -- and was included in USA Today’s list of top aquariums in the entire country. They currently house the largest collection of sharks in the Northeast, are the only aquarium in the world that houses hippos, and is only one of six facilities in the entire country to house Little Blue Penguins. Their reservation-based system keeps their facilities safe with minimal crowds; the price of admission is tiered in the $30 range for adults and the $20 range for children under 12.
For more information, check out their website here: https://www.adventureaquarium.com
Photo by Instagrammer aaron_june_kim
For a quieter farm experience, Abma’s Farm in Wyckoff has a farmer’s market, greenhouse, and petting zoo that also includes pony rides on Saturdays! The kids can get to know your typically petting zoo favorites, and feed them with animal crackers and carrot tops that can be purchased at the farm. They also offer cute activities like the goat walk, the duck pond, and Bunnyville that are specific to their farm. Adults can also enjoy purchasing some fresh produce and local gourmet items, make and take some floral arrangements at the greenhouse workshop, or even schedule a wine tasting at the affiliated Tomasello Winery The price of admission is a very reasonable $4 for the petting zoo, and they are open every day except Sunday.
For more information, check out their website here: https://www.abmasfarm.com
Allaire Community Farm
This community farm has the infrastructure of a farm and petting zoo experience with a very important mission and purpose. They seek to utilize rescued animals for programs specifically targeted towards special needs adults and children, teens facing mental health issues, veterans with PTSD, and individuals with cancer. They specialize in horse training, and run a program to promote functional socialization and work skills called the Harvesting Occupational and Personal Excellence (HOPE) Program. They have a basis of over 200 volunteers and any funds they do make are put directly back into supporting their mission.
For more information, check out their website here: https://allairecommunityfarm.org
These are just a few locations of New Jersey’s many zoo-based activities, but we wanted to include the ones we thought had something for everyone, and whose programming was comprehensive and safe for this summer. We can’t wait to see the memories you will make with your families! Make sure to keep us in the loop at #SEARCHtheBurbs -- happy exploring.