Next to the Jersey shore, one of the places I loved best as a child is the Turtle Back Zoo. On Wednesday, April 10th, I had the privilege to attend a press conference held by Essex County Executive DiVincenzo and Governor Christie as they opened the new Sea Lion Sound Exhibit, the largest exhibit in the zoo’s 50 year history.
The new exhibit is in the center of the zoo featuring and 82,000 gallon pool with rock formations and several viewing windows. Later this year seals will be joining the sea lions. The 1,600 gallon indoor touch tank is home to sting rays and sharks and visitors can feed them.
Zoo Director, Dr. Jeremy Goodman said “We are excited about the addition of sea lions, sting rays , seals and sharks to our zoo. It expands and diversifies our animal collection and enables our visitors to gain an understanding and appreciation for all types of animals from through out the world.”
During the press conference, Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo thanked a long list of sponsors including the Zoological Society of New Jersey, Green Acres, PNC Bank, Convanta Energy, philanthropist David Tepper, and the Essex County Recreation and Open Space Trust Fund, who made this massive undertaking possible.
As a visitor for the last 37 years it is the wonderful folks at Turtle Back Zoo who maintain the great exhibits, the amazing landscape of the zoo built right into the side of a mountain, making a visit to this zoo an adventure, and the excitement and charm of seeing sea lions cheetahs and penguins right in West Orange New Jersey. Every visit, as a child, a teacher chaperone, a mom and an aunt was a new experience for me. Governor Christie said it best, “growing up just up the hill, this zoo is part of all of our history”
Plan your next trip to the Turtle Back Zoo and help celebrate 50 Wild Years in Essex County. Visit the website www.turtlebackzoo.com for zoo hours, daily rates and upcoming events, including a visit from world famous zoo director Jack Hanna in May.
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