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-- Zoos / Aquariums / Animal Centers
Penguin Exhibit; Pony Track; Monkey House; Reptile House; Aviary; Panda Exhibit; Aquarium; Essex Farm Petting Zoo; picnic pavilion; and South Mountain Reservation miniature train. Opened 1963, name derived from rock formation located on mountainside just east of zoo which Lenni-Lenape Native Americans called “Turtle Back Rock” due to pattern similar to back of giant tortoise. Improvements sine 2000 master plan included replacing cages with larger naturalistic habitats; new picnic pavilion; and animal themed playground. Also features Essex Farm Petting Zoo and miniature train through South Mountain Reservation.
Also includes museum with some 50 antique carriages, cars and motorcycles; weapons from Revolutionary and Civil Wars; blacksmith shop; doll exhibit; primitive tools; Eskimo exhibit; and fluorescent mineral theater. Origins to 1927 when Ralph and Elizabeth Space bought first quarter acre, established small general store, repair shop, and subsequent wild animal shelter housing wildlife Ralph captured in state government job in game and predator control. Space animal collection on property later attracted local visitors which evolved as public zoo and museum with other family collections. Continues operation under Space family descendants.
Formerly allowed private vehicles to drive through animal enclosure, since 2013 visits limited to Great Adventure Safari Off Road Adventure guided tours on open-air Army trucks with hosts commenting on animals and habitat. Trucks stop at Camp Aventura where visitors can disembark and see smaller animals, exotic birds, unusual reptiles and two-toed sloth named Chewy. New Jersey Sanctuary features wetlands habitat and native wildlife.
Wildlife from North and South America, including such unusual species as Baird’s Tapirs, Andean Condors, American Alligators, Golden Lion Tamarins, South American Pampas, and many others. Operated by Bergen County, offers reduced admission for County residents, free admission November through April. Education/Discovery Center provides several hands-on activities and live animal exhibits; mini-theater screens wildlife videos and feature films; live animal presentations in outdoor amphitheater. Operates summer zoo camp.
Sanctuary for abandoned, injured, ill, exploited, abused or elderly wildlife, exotic and farm animals, and birds. Open to public with admission of $5 for adults; $4 for children aged 3 to 11; free for under 3. Situated on seven acres in Forked River section of Lacey Township, operated by Associated Humane Societies, which also operates shelters in Newark and Tinton Falls. Programs to educate visitors about animals and their environments, also offers hundreds of rescued dogs and cats for adoption.
Opened in 1934 as New Jersey’s first zoo, comprises approximately 15 acres within city of Bridgeton’s 1,100-acre park operated by city government. Nearly 100 animals representing over 45 different species from around world. Non-profit Cohanzick Zoological Society provides funding for animal acquisitions, new construction and improvements. Open during spring and summer without charge.
Opened in 1991 as part of privately-owned Jenkinson's boardwalk complex of amusement rides, miniature golf, games and restaurants on Point Pleasant Beach boardwalk. Exhibits include sharks, penguins and seals, coral reef habitats, with touch tank allowing visitors to to touch live animals such as sea stars and sting rays. Offers workshops for children and professional development for teachers, group tours for schools and scout groups. Outreach Program for schools and libraries, also demonstrations at children's birthday parties, aquarium available for evening functions such as wedding receptions, corporate parties or business meetings..
Located on Delaware River shore across from Philadelphia. Features 8,500 aquatic species, home to largest collection of sharks on East Coast, including only Great Hammerhead Shark on exhibit in US, only aquarium in world to exhibit hippos and one of only six US facilities to have Little Blue Penguins as permanent residents. 2016 opening of Shark Bridge, allowing visitors to walk just inches above nearly 30 sand tiger, sandbar and nurse sharks along with other animals on longest, V-shaped rope suspension bridge in world. Other attractions include waterfall in Amazon area, Seal and Penguin shows, and touching pools with species ranging from sharks to jellyfish. Also offers special adventures where children can swim with sharks and work with seals and penguins. Hosts Center for Aquatic Sciences to educate public in science and conservation issues and engage in active research and conservation programs, sponsors workshops and summer camp. Originally built by and opened 1992 by state government as New Jersey State Aquarium at Camden, since 2007 owned and operated as private for-profit attraction by Atlanta-based Herschend Family Entertainment Corporation.
Located on ten acres within Camp Taylor Campground in Kittatinny Mountains. Home to ten Timber, three Arctic and three British Columbian wolves, one rescued wolf hybrid, three bobcats and two foxes. Operated by Jim Stein and wife Becky Mace, who manage Preserve, care for animals and conduct tours, which cost $15 for adults and $7 for children under 11 in age. Also hosts school, scout and photo groups. Viewings of four packs of wolves twice daily at 10:30 am and 3:30 pm (2:30 pm during winter). Reservations required for visits during week but not on weekends.
Indoor exhibits display thousands of different varieties of insects, bugs and butterflies, both live and preserved specimens. Bug University provides basic facts and characteristics of insects and scientific system use to classify and name living things. Features include live bee hive and tarantulas in habitats. Events include Night Crawl overnights for scouts, other live demonstrations, class visits, and demonstrations at libraries and schools, as well as private functions like birthday parties.
Operated by private non-profit organization to rescue and rehabilitate stranded marine life. Founded 1978 and still directed by Robert Schoelkopf, funded solely with private donations and staffed by volunteers, only facility in state to conduct marine mammal rescues. Since founding, responded to over 4,500 calls for stranded whales, dolphins, seals, and sea turtles washed ashore on New Jersey beaches, occasionally responds to out-of-state requests. Animals returned to Center for rehabilitation, when restored to health released back into ocean. Open for public visits, features 1000-gallon outdoor observation tank, Sea Life Educational Center includes 25 life-sized replicas of marine mammals and fish and "Please Touch" display of marine mammal bones.
Operated by Division of Fish & Wildlife of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, produces up to 750,000 trout annually for stocking in state's public waters. Also includes Natural Resource Education Center for environmental education where visitors learn about trout and how they are raised. Situated on 5,000 acres of state land surrounding hatchery for recreational uses s such as hiking, hunting and bird watching, with fishing in nearby Pequest River. Open for visits year-round (hours vary seasonally), but best time October through May when all areas of facility in operation (from May through September, nursery building is not in use).