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Our Trip To Turtle Back Zoo in New Jersey

Uncle Bri and I took JD to awesome Turtle Back Zoo on Saturday. I love this zoo for many reasons. Not only is it located a quick 25-minutes from my condo, but there is so much to do and see there. Turtle Back Zoo showcases a variety of exhibits from a wooded wetland where American alligators lounge (grrr!), an Australian exhibit where Great Grey (and so cute!) Kangaroos hop around and play, to wolves up close, but through an expansive glass panel, of course (eeeps!). There are many more animal exhibits. Click here to see what else lives at the zoo.

JD loves the bear house where Jelly and Jam, twin sister bears live. He observes black bears from a replica kitchen area. The house is interactive and features a fridge that JD loves to pull open and explore. In it, Jelly and Jam’s fish and other food. A television plays a DVD about bears on loop and the room offers cushy seating if you need a break. The bears can be observed via an observatory window and two outside cabin areas that provide different viewing angles.

Next, we headed to the Penguin coast and that’s when things got interesting! The exhibit recreates the South African coastline where these birds are found. There’s a glass wall and small stoop for kids to step up on. JD did just this and flung his hands over the wall to steady himself—and dropped the Matchbox car he was holding into the shallow Penguin tank where the adorable black and white birds were waddling around. Good Lord! JD’s face transformed into this urgent, shocked, panicked look. I gulped and Uncle Bri laughed, “Yeah, that ain’t good.” I attempted to get it. No. Uncle Bri did, next. No. A random Dad witnessing JD’s tears and “Geeeeeet it, pleeeeeeese,” plea did as well. No.

The distance between the wall and drop were too great for anyone to reach it (= safety!). I needed to recover this car, because I knew JD wouldn’t calm down. (He once dropped his Cars 2 Francesco car out of the window on the highway while I was doing 55. I called the NJ State Troopers, wink, and it was recovered the next day = I bought a new one.) I wore a Cars shirt to Cars 2. Take a look.

Luckily, the staff at the Turtle Back Zoo is friendly and helpful. Uncle Bri took JD over to a bench to calm him down and I found a nice staffer to help. He laughed, entered the exhibit, recovered the small, white car, washed it with antibacterial gel and handed it to me. The day pressed on. But we totally lost this car in the reptile room and JD didn’t realize and still doesn’t realize, so I’m not saying anything. HAHAH! He was too distracted running below the underground tunnels and popping up in the viewer windows to look at the Prairie Dogs. Here he is, in the underground tunnel (look at those eyes on my beautiful boy!):

We rode the train and carousel, crawled and climbed in the play area and slid down the slide!


JD got a glitter tattoo (there’s a face-painter there every weekend) and we cooled off with rainbow Italian ice and water misters positioned throughout the space. It was a super-fun day—one for the books. I know I’ll tell JD about the time he dropped his Matchbox car in the penguin tank and the recovery mission. “You saved my car, Mom,” he said. Ah, yes. (Well, unless he remembers the car is with the snakes now. #typicalsinglemomweekend.)

How was your weekend? What did you do? Did your kiddo ever lose a toy you HAD to recover? Please share.

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