The Zoological Society of New Jersey, Inc. is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation, organized under the laws of the State of New Jersey.  Its purpose is to promote the general welfare of Essex County Turtle Back Zoo, a facility of the Essex County Department of Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Affairs; to stimulate the public’s interest in the growth, improvement, and development of Essex County Turtle Back Zoo through education and research with an emphasis on natural conservation of all species of animals; to support and sponsor fund-raising events to help in the financing of new facilities, purchase of equipment, and acquisition of animals; to encourage membership in the Society by persons interested in the promotion of the physical and aesthetic qualities of Essex County Turtle Back Zoo; and to stimulate the public interest in the development and enjoyment of Essex County Turtle Back Zoo and of animals everywhere.

Turtle Back Zoo is your zoo! Membership in the Zoological Society of New Jersey, Inc. is your key to supporting the “new” zoo experience to the fullest. The upgraded Society membership program packs more value, fun, and exciting new features into being a member. With special tours and privileges and more options, it is definitely the best buy in Essex County.

All memberships include:

  • Unlimited free admission to the zoo for one year
  • Free admission to members only “Night Moves” events
  • 10% discount at the Turtle Back Zoo Gift Shop
  • Free subscription to the Society’s newsletter, “Turtle Talk”
  • Reciprocal privileges with more than 110 affiliated zoos and aquariums across the country.  (Please note that the list of zoos with which we have reciprocity is subject to change at any time.)  For a list of participating zoos, see the following link:  Reciprocal Zoo List

Society members can take great pride in the Zoo’s accreditation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Many animals — including the Black Bears, Timber Wolves, Cougars, Bobcats, Scottish Highland Cattle, and many others – have made their home at Turtle Back Zoo thanks to County and membership funds. Many established exhibits, including the Essex Farm petting zoo, the Red Panda exhibit, and the Reptile Center, and new exhibits, including Sea Lion Sound and the Sting Ray Touch Tank, will add to your fun and enjoyment as a member — and many more exhibits are planned.

Why not consider upgrading your membership to get even more benefits from your zoo experience? And remember – a membership in the Zoological Society makes a great gift or honorarium because it keeps giving all year long.

The Zoological Society of New Jersey, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization of the State of New Jersey, which is committed to the development of zoological welfare, research, and conservation of Turtle Back Zoo.



Click here to download an application! (form best viewed in Internet Explorer or Chrome)