New Jersey Zoos and Aquariums: Turtle Back Zoo and 12 other Animal Preserves
They don't call it the Garden State for nothing. New Jersey is filled with zoos, aquariums, and other places to get close to the animals. You can check out the prairie dogs, bears, and even a wolf preserve. And when you need something more summer-like and aquatic it's time to swim with the sharks. Hop in the car now and check out some of these zoos some of the best zoos, aquariums and animal reserves in NJ.
Van Saun Park Zoo
The Zoo at Van Saun Park is just an extra perk of visiting this fabulous park. The park has areas to play ball, a pond, a carousel, one (or rather 4 or 5) of the bigger playgrounds in the area, picnic tables and grills, a pony riding area, a little train ride that circles the entire zoo, and then the zoo itself. The zoo has a prairie dog maze, a butterfly tent, and a farm area and many other things. The zoo is open 365 days a year (although on Wednesdays many of the rides are closed). Admission is $3.50 per adult, $1.50 per child (or free Mon & Tues November-April). Rides are $1.50 to $3 each.
Space Farm Zoo
Space Farm Zoo is just as wacky as its name. The zoo is home to 500 different species of animals, but is best known for being home to some of the best experts in the country in large wild cats. Kids will have a great time seeing all the animals, but the "museum portion" of Space Farm Zoo is what will blow you away. The museum consists of the private collections of the zoo owners, ranging from antique automobiles to toys to old farm machinery and jars of pickled snakes. The zoo is open mid-April through end of October. Admission is $13.50 per adult and $9 per child.
Lakota Wolf Preserve
Although not exactly a zoo, there is no better way to see and learn about wolves than by visiting the Lakota Wolf Preserve. The Lakota Wolf Preserve permits viewings of the four packs of wolves two times a day, at 10:30am and 3:30pm (2:30pm during winter before daylight savings). There is a pleasant 30 minute hike through the preserve to the viewing area. The cost is $15 per adult, $7 per child (cash only). You must make reservations if you want to visit during the week.
The Adventure Aquarium in Camden is a beautiful way for kids to see fish and other sea creatures close up. The presentation here is beautiful: there is a tunnel through the shark tank, a waterfall in the Amazon area, Seal and Penguin shows, and plenty of touching pools with everything from sharks to jellyfish. The Aquarium also offers special adventures where kids can swim with sharks and work with seals and penguins (programs are in the $130 to $175 per person range). The Aquarium is open daily. Admission is $19.95 for adults, $15.95 for kids 2 and up.
Point Pleasant, NJ
There is more to Point Pleasant Beach and just the sand and waves and rides: there is Jenkinson’s Aquarium! The private Aquarium has sharks, penguins, alligators, seals and plenty of fish to gaze at. There are feedings to watch and even a touch tank where kids can get hands on with the fish. Open year round, admission is $10 per adult, $6 for kids ages 3 and up.