Turtle Back Zoo – West Orange, NJ

Another weekend came and went and we decided to visit yet another zoo that was located up in northern part of the state.  Turtle Back Zoo is located in South Orange, NJ and was founded in 1963.  Initially it was setup to display animals indigenous to New Jersey, but currently has species from almost every continent on the planet and houses over 700 animals in total.

Turtle Back Zoo Logo

We are members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums through our annual pass with the Philadelphia Zoo so our admission was free.  This is a nice tip if you like visiting zoos as you get to access a lot of zoos nationwide for one membership price.  This zoo really is great and has a wide variety of animals to see and activities to participant with.  One of the first activities we came across were pony rides which Hanna has never done before.  We weren’t sure how she would handle it especially since my wife and I weren’t allowed in with her and had to watch from the sidelines, but she absolutely loved it.  Oh and a pony has now jumped to the top of her birthday gift list.

TBZ Pony Ride

Another cool exhibit they had was a walk through bird sanctuary with all kinds of birds flying around you as you pass through.  You can even buy little sticks that have birdseed on them to feed the birds.

TBZ Bird Feeding

Did you noticed the Canada Eh! shirt above?  That was picked up on our recent trip back to Canada for our annual family reunion and a stop over in Cooperstown to visit the Baseball Hall of Fame.  You can check out the post here to read about some penny machines I picked up along the way.

We did see all your usual animals and reptiles along the way.  They have a great little aquarium with a touch tank that you can pet some small stingrays and even a few sharks.  Below is a picture of Hanna attempting to touch one of the Rays.

TBZ Touch Tank

We also came across a couple porcupines which usually aren’t too active and these were no different.  However the one did flop down on the ground and stretched out his (or her) back legs which was really cute and you can see in the picture below.

TBZ Porcupine

After a quick break for some ice cream we checked out the Komodo Dragon exhibit which is located right beside the main Gift Shop.  We stopped in to check out the usual assortment of stuffed animals and t-shirts.

TBZ Gift Shop

In between the gift shop and the main admission ticket window there is a small hallway connecting the two.  In this area we found the one penny machine available at the zoo.

NJ - Turtle Back Zoo 2015 Machine 01

I had visited this zoo a few years ago to collect the pennies which was a different machine at that time.  This new machine apparently is new for this year.  Here’s a close up of the design marquee signage.

NJ - Turtle Back Zoo 2015 Machine 01a

I grabbed my usual stash of coins I keep on hand in case I come across a new machine and pressed all four designs.  They came out great, and the machine worked perfectly.

NJ - Turtle Back Zoo Pennies

The four designs include: a large Tortoise, a Komodo Dragon, Two Red Pandas, and a Giraffe.  With the new pennies safely stored away in my pocket we started to head towards the last attraction on our list.

TBZ Carousel

Hanna’s obsession (other than the most recent pony obsession) are carousels.  This worked our perfectly as the carousel was on our way back out towards the exit.  Instead of the usual Horses to ride this one had all different types of exotic animals.  Hanna was torn between a few choices but ended up picking the Polar Bear.  After our ride we headed to our car and made the trip back hope.

This was another great day trip and I must say this zoo has definitely expanded since the last time I was here.  New animals, new rides and best of all a new penny machine.


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