Turtle Back Zoo

About Us

Update Regarding RE-OPENING

RESERVE YOUR ZOO ADMISSION SPOTRESERVE YOUR MEMBERSHIP ZOO ADMISSION SPOT

BECOME A MEMBER

Turtle Back Zoo is your zoo! Membership in the Zoological Society of New Jersey 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.

JOIN THE ZOOLOGICAL SOCIETY FOR UNLIMITED ADMISSIONS

LOOKING FOR A GIFT FOR THAT ZOO FAN?

GRAB A ZOO GIFT CARD!

Gift Cards can be redeemed only for Zoo General Admission and Zoo Education Programming. Gift Cards CANNOT be used to purchase: Zoo Membership, Gift Shop merchandise, Café or other food offerings. Gift Cards expire December 31, 2021. Gift Cards cannot be redeemed for cash. Gift Card will be sent via email for redemption. Please allow 48 hours for e-gift card to be activated.

PURCHASE A GIFT CARD

Tickets are only valid for date and time specified. You have 1 hour to enter the Zoo after the time specified on your ticket. Do not get in line to enter until we are within your time block. Anybody who arrives any earlier will have to wait in the car. Early or late arrivals will NOT be accommodated. There will be no Re-Entry. Please ensure that you have everything with you before entering the zoo. For a Contact-Free Entry, we prefer that you do not print your tickets; rather just show the confirmation email on your phone to the cashier at the entrance.

Per our County Health Inspector & Zoo Veterinary Staff guidelines, masking is now optional when outdoors and indoors, but we do suggest you bring a mask if you would like to fully experience the zoo as masks are still required at animal attractions such as giraffe feed, pony rides and goat feed. You will need a mask to enter or participate. Please be prepared to bring your own face covering. Guests who are unable to wear masks are asked to produce a medical note advising that these requirements are to be waived. The individual’s health condition does not have to be stated in the doctor’s note.

Please do not enter the Zoo if you are feeling ill.

Strollers are available for rent. You are able to bring in your own stroller.

Wheelchairs are available on a first come, first serve basis. Please note these are not motorized.

Our Pony Ride Attraction and Giraffe Feed are now open from 10:30am – 4pm. *For the health and safety of our animals, face coverings must be worn at these activity. No exemptions.

Our Carousel and Train do not require face coverings.

When you walk around the Zoo, you’ll note markers to help you social distance.

Restrooms will be on a sanitation schedule, so they will be closing down at specific times of the day.

Our water fountains & vending machines and Café are OPEN. You are able to bring in outside food and beverage. The Gift Shop is open.

TICKETING

Ticketing is timed to allow for social distancing. Reservations must be used at that specific date and time.

  • Guarantee your zoo visit by purchasing your tickets ahead of time. Same day tickets can also be purchased at the gate.
  • Member admission will still be free, but tickets MUST be reserved ahead of time.
  • Visitors will not be admitted into the Zoo before their ticketed time slot.
  • There are No Refunds or Exchanges. The Zoo is open Rain or Shine, so please plan your trip accordingly.

Masking is now optional when outdoors and outdoors, but we do suggest you bring a mask if you would like to fully experience the zoo as masks are still required at animal attractions such as giraffe feed, pony rides and goat feed. You will need a mask to enter or participate.

As you know, Essex County Turtle Back Zoo is continually renovating and upgrading to create a fun, safe and educational experience for our customers. You may now notice a “fee” on your transaction. This has previously been a part of your zoo admission, but our online ticketing now has been updated to include this fee as a separate line item on the ticketing side.

The funds generated are specifically allocated to be used on enhancements at the South Mountain Recreational Complex. The fee is $2.00 per paid ticket type. Free tickets do not incur a fee. We thank you for your support. If you have further questions, please feel free to contact us at #973-731-5800 x0.

Re-Opening FAQ

As we begin to plan for our re-opening, new information will be updated here.

  • Reservations are recommended for both members and non-members. Reservations are made for a specific date and time.
    • General admission and member reservations are limited each day. Once capacity is reached, we will be unable to allow entry to any more guests.
    • Members will need their photo ID, membership card and reserved tickets (printed or on phone) to check in.
    • Guests with general admission will need their reserved tickets (printed or on phone) to check in.
    • Guests must arrive within their reserved time slot.

We accept all major credit and debit cards.

Cash is accepted at our ticket windows.

Capacity within time slots is limited. We ask that all guests make every effort to arrive on time as we may not be able to accommodate you in another time slot. If you have a concern please call 973-731-5800 x0.

In order for a timed reservation system to work as best as possible, please make sure you are able to attend your reserved slot at time of purchase. Tickets are non-refundable, non-exchangeable and non-transferable. Please note also Essex County Turtle Back Zoo is open rain/snow or shine. Essex County Turtle Back Zoo provides no refunds due to inclement weather. 

Face coverings are optional outdoors and indoors. Face coverings must be worn at Animal Attractions such as Giraffe Feed, Pony Rides and Goat Feed. Please make sure you have a face covering with you.

This does not apply to children under the age of two. Guests who are unable to wear masks are asked to produce a medical note advising that these requirements are to be waived. The individual’s health condition does not have to be stated in the doctor’s note.

There is no time limit to how long you can stay in the Zoo, however there is no re-entry, so when you leave zoo grounds, you are leaving for that timed ticket visit. Attractions and animal exhibits being to close down at 4:30.

At this time, we are not able to accept reciprocal memberships online. You can come purchase the day of at the window.

Group rate is available for 15 people or more. Pre-registration is required. Call our Group Sales department to reserve your day #973-731-5800 x 221 or 227.

Select ticket windows are available for Members, Birthdays/ Groups, Online Tickets and At-the-Gate Tickets. Please note your line selection depending on your needs.

The Savana Café is open from 11am – 3pm daily.

Yes, you are welcome to bring in your own food, although please note outside food is not permitted inside our café.

Drink and Dippin’ Dot vending machines are available throughout the park.

Stroller rentals are available. Single stroller $7; Double stroller $10. You are able to bring your own stroller, though some exhibits and attractions will not let you bring a stroller in.

Wheelchairs will be available on a first come, first serve basis. Please note these are not motorized wheelchairs.

The Zoo is open rain/snow or shine. Essex County Turtle Back Zoo provides no refunds due to inclement weather.

Turtle Back Zoo