Visit The Zoo

Join Us For A Fun-Filled Wild Day!

Located on 20 acres in the beautiful South Mountain Reservation, Turtle Back Zoo exhibits species from all 5 continents. Naturalistic exhibits located throughout the zoo’s landscaped grounds offer the perfect recreational and educational experience. Ride the zoo’s miniature train, play on the animal themed playground, take a spin on the carousel or catch an animal program, there is always adventure around every corner. Visitor amenities including free parking in the zoo lot, cafeteria, picnic area and a gift shop are available for your convenience. Every visit to the zoo is different and exciting. Please join us for a fun filled wild day that the whole family is sure to enjoy.

Admission & Hours

Hours:

 

Monday – Sunday: 10:00 am – 3:30 pm

*Park remains open for 1/2 hour after last admission.
Zoo will be closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Day.

 

Rates:

In Season Prices: (April 1st through November 30th)

  • Adults: $14.00
  • Children (ages 2 to 12): $11.00
  • Seniors 62+: $11.00
  • Children 23 months and under: Free
  • Rental Safari Double Strollers: $7.00

Off Season Prices: (December 1st through March 31st)

  • Adults: $12.00
  • Children (ages 2 to 12): $10.00
  • Seniors 62+: $10.00
  • Children 23 months and under: Free

Turtle Back Zoo Map

 

Official Turtle Back Zoo Map

Click To Enlarge

Click Here to Download Printable PDF Map

Directions


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From NJ Turnpike:
Take NJ Turnpike to EXIT 15W.  Take Rte. 280 WEST to EXIT 10.  Turn LEFT at the light. TBZ is about 3 miles away on the left.

From the Garden State Parkway:
Take Garden State Parkway ( North or South) to EXIT 145.  Then take Rte.280 WEST to EXIT 10.  Turn LEFT at the light. Turtle Back Zoo is about 3 miles away on the left side.

From Rte. 280 West:
Take Rte.280 WEST to EXIT 10.  Turn Left at the light.  TBZ is about 3 miles away on the left.

From Rte. 280 East:
Take Rte. 280 EAST to EXIT 7.  At the traffic light turn LEFT onto Pleasant Valley Way.  Go to the 2nd light and turn LEFT onto Northfield Ave.  TBZ is about a quarter of a mile on the right side.

From Rte. 80 East:
Take Rte.80 EAST to Rte.280 EAST.  Take Rte.280 EAST to EXIT 7.  At the traffic light turn LEFT onto Pleasant Valley Way.  Go to the 3rd light and turn LEFT onto Northfield Ave.  The zoo is about a quarter of a mile on the right side.

From Rte. 80 West:
Take Rte.80 West to Garden State Parkway or NJ Turnpike.

From Rte.23:
Take Rte.23 SOUTH to Bloomfield Ave.  As you cross Bloomfield Ave, the name changes to Prospect Ave.  Take Prospect Ave all the way to the end.  At the traffic light turn RIGHT onto Northfield Ave.  Turtle Back Zoo is about 1 mile on the left side.

From Rte.287:
Take Rte.287 SOUTH to Rte.80 EAST.  Rte.80 EAST to Rte.280 EAST.  Take Rte.280 EAST to EXIT to EXIT 7.  At the traffic light turn LEFT onto Pleasant Valley Way.  Go to the 3rd light and turn LEFT onto Northfield Ave.  The zoo is about a quarter mile on the right.

From JFK BLVD:
Coming from Summit, Chatam and Madison areas:  Take JFK NORTH into Livingston.  Make a RIGHT onto Northfield Ave.   Turtle Back Zoo is about 4 miles down on your right side.

From Rte.10:
Take Rte.10 EAST to Livingston Circle. As you go around you will see a sign for Northfield Ave.  Get on Northfield Ave.  Turtle Back Zoo is about 4 miles down on your right side.

From Rte.78 East:
Take Rte. 78 EAST to EXIT 49A.  Take exit 49A onto Springfield Ave.  Make a RIGHT onto Main St.  Turn Right onto Brookside Drive/ Paper Mill Way.  Make a slight LEFT at Cherry Lane.  Then make a RIGHT onto Northfield Ave.  The Turtle Back Zoo is about a quarter of a mile on your right.

From Rte.78 West:
Take Rte. 78 WEST.  Continue  STRAIGHT on Rte. 24 West.  Take EXIT 9A.  Merge onto Morris and Essex Turnpike.  Make a LEFT onto Millburn Ave.  Turn LEFT onto Main St.  Turn RIGHT onto Brookside Drive/ Paper Mill Way.  Make a slight LEFT at Cherry Lane.  Then make a RIGHT onto Northfield Ave.  The Turtle Back Zoo is about a quarter of a mile on your right.

From South Orange Ave:
Take South Orange Ave to South Mountain Reservation.  In the reservation you will see a light (*note if you are coming from Newark on S. Orange Ave, you will turn right, if you are coming from Livingston on S. Orange Ave you will turn left).  This traffic light is Cherry Lane.  Take Cherry Lane to the traffic light and turn RIGHT.  Turtle Back Zoo is about a quarter of a mile on the right side.

From GW Bridge, Holland and Lincoln Tunnels:
Follow signs from the GW Bridge or Lincoln Tunnel or Holland Tunnel to the Garden State Parkway or NJ Turnpike then:  From the NJ Turnpike:  Take NJ Turnpike to EXIT 15W.  Then take Rte.280 WEST to EXIT 10.  At the traffic light turn LEFT onto Pleasant Valley Way.  Go to the 3rd light and turn LEFT onto Northfield Ave.  Turtle Back Zoo is about a quarter of a mile on the right.

Or from the Garden State Parkway:  Take Garden State Parkway (North or South) to exit 145.  Then take Rte.280 WEST to EXIT 10.  Turn  LEFT at the light.  Turtle Back Zoo is about 3 miles away on the left side.

From Staten Island:
Take Outer Bridge to Garden State Parkway North.  Then follow Parkway directions to the zoo.

Zoo Rules

Attention TEACHERS, SCOUT LEADERS and PARENTS, especially those with large groups:
Please read this to your class, children, aides, counselors and other helping parents before you enter the zoo.
Following these simple rules will make your visit and those of other guests enjoyable!

  1. Please Do Not feed the animals. They have special diets that they are fed.
  2. Please Do Not poke at the animals, throw objects in the animal areas or harass the animals. These actions and objects are harmful, and may cause serious medical problems.
  3. Please Do Not run or scream through the zoo or gardens, or hang on the trees! Remember: you do not like to be screamed at, and neither do the animals. Besides, you may disturb other visitors as well as frighten the animals.
  4. Peacocks and Peahens roam the zoo freely. Please enjoy watching these beautiful birds. Please Do Not chase, feed or touch them. The following items are not allowed on zoo grounds: balloons, pinatas, whistles, styrofoam coolers and alcoholic beverages.
  5. Please Do go directly to the Guest Relations Office should you or someone in your group get lost, so that we may reunite you with your group.
  6. Please Do go directly to the Guest Relations Office if someone in your group gets hurt, or locate the nearest zoo worker, who will notify our main office so that we may help you immediately.
  7. Please Do enjoy our animals in their habitats. They like to lay in the sun or play in the dirt. Watch and learn from the animals.
  8. Please Do ask questions as to why a wolf howls or what is that noise the crane is making? One of our Docent volunteers or Staff members would love to share their knowledge and help you in any way!

Thank You for coming to our zoo — please enjoy the animals as much as we do!!!

*** Violation of our DO NOT rules will require the zoo management to ask your group to leave the premises. ***

Plan Your Visit

No matter what the season, Turtle Back Zoo is a great place to visit, with lots of activity going on every day. When arriving at the zoo make sure to get here early, as the animals are usually more active first thing in the morning. Please check the daily activity board located inside the front entrance to find out what activities are planned for the day, as well as for the hours of operation of the zoo’s various attractions. Any exhibit closings will be posted at the ticket windows. If you can not visit early in the morning, late afternoon is also a great time to visit, as the animals are being fed their afternoon meals. Cool and overcast days are also a wonderful time at the zoo, as animals tend to rest in the shade on hot days and are more likely to be active on cool days. If the weather is inclement, the zoo has several indoor exhibits to escape the elements. In case of severe weather, please call the zoo to confirm that we are open, as the zoo will occasionally close if path conditions are unsafe.

Winter is a great time to see our Reptile House, Touch Tank, Essex Farm, Aquarium and other zoo favorites such as the red panda and wolves as they love the cold and are most active during this time. (Please note that many ride attractions are not open during the winter.) During summer, cooling misting stations are provided for our animals and our guests to beat the heat.

No matter when you visit, if you ever have a question or concern, please ask our trained staff or docent volunteers. They are here to help you.

Food Pavilion and Gift Shop

Food

FOOD LOCATIONS

Savanna Cafe: *Monday – Friday* The Cafe will be open for you to eat and warm up in during the week, but food will not be for sale. Grab-and-Go food options can be purchased in our Gift Shop located next to the Reptile House.

Iguana Cantina Food Truck: *CLOSED FOR THE SEASON*

Train: *CLOSED FOR THE SEASON*

Playground: *CLOSED FOR THE SEASON*

Sea Lion: *CLOSED FOR THE SEASON*

Gift Shops: Snacks, drinks, grab-and-go food options

Our outdoor covered picnic areas are still accessible.

Gift Shop

Fun gifts and perfect souvenirs from your visit are available in our fully stocked gift shop, located near the zoo entrance.  Make sure to bring home a memory today!

 

Pet Policy

Turtle Back Zoo does not allow pets on the grounds.

Guide Dogs and Assistance Dogs are welcome. Please inform the front desk staff if you will be bringing a guide dog onto zoo grounds.

Please do not visit the zoo and leave your pet in your car.

The staff checks the parking lot for many reasons, but if we find that an animal has been locked in a car, we will call the proper authorities.  We will also not hesitate to use any means necessary to save your pet if it is in immediate distress.

Zoo Attractions

Endangered Species Carousel — Please note, carousel is currently only open on the weekend this winter. Visitors of all ages can take a spin on our endangered species carousel. Ride on a panda, alligator, tiger or one of the 30 other rare creatures featured on this unique ride that was custom built for Turtle Back Zoo. Housed inside a beautiful classic carousel house with mosaic floors and stained glass windows, this year round attraction is perfect in any weather.  Fee: $2.

Pony Rides — Visit our newly constructed pony track. Please note, pony rides are currently only open on the weekend this winter. 

Train — CLOSED FOR THE SEASON. Departing from Turtle Back Junction, the zoo’s miniature train ride takes visitors through the beautiful South Mountain Reservation. The train is a perfect way to cool down on a hot day. The train departs approximately every 15 minutes from the station, and is wheelchair accessible. Train rides are included with the price of admission. The train is closed during inclement weather and for the winter (from December 1st – March 31st).

Aviary —  CLOSED FOR THE SEASON.

Butterfly Tent — CLOSED FOR THE SEASON.

Playground — Prehistoric Playground will be closed for construction from March 1, 2017 to April 10, 2017. These dates may be adjusted depending on weather. Located near the Essex Farm, the zoo’s playground is a fun place for children to explore and mimic some of the wild animals at the zoo. Featuring over-sized dinosaurs and plenty of climbing structures, the playground is always a hit with the children. The playground is closed during the winter and during inclement weather.

 

** Any animal may be off exhibit on a given day for a variety of reasons. Call the day of your visit to confirm possible closures, #973-731-5800 ex. 0. Certain animals within our zoo move to indoor holdings for the winter that are not accessible to the general public. As a full year zoo, there is still plenty to see and enjoy such as our Reptile House, Touch Tank, Aquarium, Essex Farm and other zoo favorites such as the red panda and wolves. **

Group Reservations

Group rates are available for groups of 15 or more people. In order to obtain the group rate you must pre-pay. The group rate: In Season — April 1st thru November 30th is $10.00 per person. Off Season –December 1st thru March 31st is $8.00 per person. If your group does not pay prior to your trip and decides to pay the day of your trip instead, you will be charged the general admission rate.

To book a group reservation please call us at (973) 731-5800 ext. 221 and ask for group sales.

PAYMENTSAs stated above, to qualify for our group rate you must make your payment in advance. Cash, check, credit card (mastercard and visa only) and purchase orders are all acceptable forms of payments.

Your group may purchase ride tickets for our carousel in advance. Tickets are $2 each. Please let the group sales representative know at the time of your booking if you would like to include ride tickets.

Food options are available through the zoo’s concessionaire. Click here to download boxed lunch options.

REFUNDS: We do not issue refunds. If members of your group are unable to attend, we will provide you with Zoo Passes for distribution. These passes are good for zoo admission during that calendar year. We apologize if this causes any inconvenience, but we must adhere to these policies.

CANCELLATIONS: If you must cancel your trip due to weather please call us and we will be glad to reschedule your trip.

INDIVIDUAL TOURS: Interpretive Group Tours may be accommodated depending on scheduling. Additional fees apply.

EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS: Your group is invited to attend all educational programs that the zoo offers to the public on the day of your trip.

Upcoming Events

  • February 20, 2017See the Seas Mini-Camp, Parts I and II
  • February 25, 2017 11:00 amSeasonal Job Fair
  • February 25, 2017 2:00 pmSOLD OUT - Zoo Behind the Scenes: Giraffe House
  • February 26, 2017 2:00 pmMembers Only- Zoo Behind the Scenes: Giraffe House
  • March 4, 2017 12:00 pmSummer Camp Open House
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