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“Nothing special” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Turtle Back Zoo

Turtle Back Zoo
560 Northfield Avenue, West Orange, NJ 07052
973-731-5800
Website
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Ranked #1 of 18 things to do in West Orange
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Chatham, Massachusetts
Top Contributor
215 reviews 215 reviews
34 attraction reviews
Reviews in 93 cities Reviews in 93 cities
78 helpful votes 78 helpful votes
“Nothing special”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 15, 2013

Relatively few animals and a lot of walking up and down hills to see what you can see. Once you get in what the kids want to do costs an extra $2 each, carousel, one minute pony ride, etc. food a concessions is mediocre concession food. I guess it's ok for a county facility, but nothing to rave about.

Visited September 2013
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English first
nyc
Top Contributor
135 reviews 135 reviews
37 attraction reviews
Reviews in 52 cities Reviews in 52 cities
68 helpful votes 68 helpful votes
“great lil zoo, not so lil”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 9, 2013

love this zoo me and my wife went here for the day, 12 bux fee and free parking. has vast array of animals.. a parakeet enclosure where u pay 2 dollars for a tounge deppresor with honey and seed on it and the birds flock to you to eat the seeds of the stick, pretty cool, they also have a touching pool for stingrays , lil spotted sharks, and for a small fee you can feed them, everything is pretty close. to each ot her, great use of there space, nice area around zoo. theres also a little train that goes thru the jungle,

Visited August 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Nice zoo!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 4, 2013 via mobile

We have been to this zoo several times and always enjoy a day spent here. It is very clean and is a well maintained zoo. It is not as large as a big city zoo so you can see everything in one day. The sea life section is a great addition to a really nice zoo.

Visited August 2013
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New York City, New York
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“best zoo in the area”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 4, 2013

The Turtle Back Zoo has added one or two attractions per year for the last few years. If you haven't been in a while, you may want to go back. It is run by the County of Essex. Many of the "staff" are volunteer docents. The paid staff are minimally trained youths. Hence, I can understand the comment from CarolN 1226 about the attendant at the pony ride insulting one of her children. The pony rides are for small children and there is a height restriction for "too tall." That might also be a weight restriction to protect the animals. The zoo makes a strong effort to protect the animals.
We have been going for years and enjoy it every time. Our nephew is now 8 1/2. this time he rode the zip line and had a blast. The staff at the zip line and Adventure Trail were more professional than at the animal exhibits. they were very knowledgeable and well-versed in safety considerations. There is a separate fee for the Adventure trails (one is junior one is adult) and the zip-line $10. YO can go directly to the Adventure trails and zip-line without entering the zoo if you wish.
The new sea lion exhibit and touch tank are great additions.
Unfortunately you cannot count on seeing every animal on every visit. They are not always active and sometimes are in their caves or homes away from sight. The larger animals are mostly outside all the time though and in view.
The train ride is a big hit. it's no extra charge and kids love it. it's about a 9 minutes ride through woods, a tunnel (train storage shed) and along the lake shore. The line gets long but it's worth wait for youngsters.
You can bring your own picnic lunch (recommended as the food facility is high-priced and, in my opinion, not nutritious or tasty). There are many picnic tables.
Next door to the zoo is a miniature golf course with an animal theme. Next to that is an upscale dining facility, McLoone's Boathouse, and next to that is a paddle-boat area. Between McLoone's and the paddle boats is walk-path along the lake shore.

Visited September 2013
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Holmdel
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Good for families with small kids”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 4, 2013 via mobile

We have been there a few times, but this was our first time since the addition of the sea lion exhibit. Park is well done and very manageable in size. It has lots of hills so bring comfy shoes and a jogger stroller (something with big wheels) if you need one.
Staff on the ticket booths on the attractions are a bit rude at times but some people take it personally. The wait for the pony ride almost does not seem to be worth it. We went on a Wednesday when they had extended hours yet most of the attractions closed early.

Visited August 2013
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