Cape May Zoo: One Of Our Favorite Places In New Jersey And Here’s Why


There are plenty of zoos in New Jersey, but the Cape May County Park and Zoo should be on your bucket list. And the best part? It’s FREE. That’s just one of the reasons why my family loves to visit, as well as touring the lush landscapes, seeing diverse animal speciesand having fun on the playground. With activities like a private tour, animal encounters, and riding a zoo-themed carousel, the Cape May Zoo is a must-do. Read on to find out what you need to know before you visit this 45-year-old Zoo. (featured photo credit: NJ MOM)


Admire the majestic cheetah in person. Photo Credit: Cape May Zoo

See animals from all over the world

When we entered the Zoo, we immediately heard the distinct call of peacocks as if they were welcoming us in. While the peacocks freely wander the front portion of the Zoo, they don’t engage with people, so littles shouldn’t be scared seeing them. Our first stop was visiting the farm animals, where we fed the goats and the cows. The kids had a great time feeding them and watching the pigs, and after, we found the pedal-operated washing station nearby, allowing us to clean up. Next to the farm animals were the birds, where we had a rousing exchange with the macaws who loved to talk back. Afterward, we set along the path, which is one big loop, and followed it to the Africa section. We spotted lions, camels, a leopard, a condor, and giraffes, and then we saw the zebras in their recently renovated space. We then headed over to the capybaras, kangaroos, emu, and red panda. My kids were in awe of the animals they saw, and since the Zoo isn’t big, we could see most of the animals up close. 

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You won’t believe your eyes when you see these larger-than-life creatures. Photo Credit: Cape May Zoo 

There’s more than just animals

Beyond the animals, there are other things to do at the Zoo that keep my kids busy. The Animal Carousel is always a hit, and instead of horses, each ride is a different zoo animal (our favorite is the gorilla). My kids love to make souvenirs at the penny machines, where you pick from a bunch of animal species, put in a penny, and it comes out with the animal on it for a keepsake souvenir. There are other places to gather memorable souvenirs—pose behind the animal cutouts (the kangaroo cutouts are an excellent spot for an adult and child photo) or head to the photo booth at the zoo exit. During the summer, kids can get their faces painted, or you can sit for a caricature portrait to bring home.


Get up close and personal with exotic animals. Photo Credit: Cape May Zoo

The Cape May County Zoo Private Tour or Animal Encounter is a must

Want to avoid the crowds or celebrate a special occasion? Get exclusive access 1 hour before the Zoo opens with a Private-Guided Zoo Tour (weather permitting). During this one-of-a-kind tour, an experienced Zoo Educator will guide you through the exhibits and introduce you to all the various species that call the Cape May County Zoo home. If you want to get a little closer to the animals, an Animal Encounter may be the experience for you—you can feed the animal you meet with special foods to munch on and learn more about them (capybara, giraffe, camel, Aldabra Tortoise, or Willy the Pig). Pavilion Birthday Parties are also available if you are looking to celebrate a special birthday at the Zoo.


There are several spots to grab a bite at Cape May Zoo. Photo Credit: NJ MOM

Grab a bite and stop by the gift shop

When it was time for lunch, we opted for the Safari Cafe, which had a bunch of kid-friendly foods like burgers, sandwiches, pizza, chicken tenders, and daily specials. We liked that we could eat inside or outside—but be alert since outside seagulls can swoop in to steal your food. You can also find kiosks selling their famous Animal Sipper Cups and grab & go items. Proceeds from the cafe and gift shop support the Zoo. The Lion’s Den Gift Shop has souvenirs and is also the spot to rent a stroller, wheelchair, or motorized scooter to help make getting around the Zoo a little easier. If you want a memento to bring back home, Zoo Bags are available for purchase, and if you pay beforehand, they can easily be picked up from the gift shop.

Cape May County Zoo entrance

The Cape May County Zoo is a perfect attraction for all ages. Photo Credit: NJ MOM

Let your littles swing, climb, and explore

Got kids itching to let out some energy? There are two playgrounds just outside the zoo entrance, one for toddlers and another larger playground and swing set. This spot ended up being a lifesaver since it gave the kids a chance to tire out before we headed back into the car. If your bigger kids are looking for more adventure, they can try the Tree to Tree Aerial Obstacle Adventure Park, an aerial rope course featuring a skateboard in the sky. Or, if you want to take it a little easier, a fishing pond is stocked at Park Central and Park East. 


The animals are friendly and ready to say “hello.” Photo Credit: NJ MOM

What to know before you go

Cape May County Park and Zoo are free admission for everyone, and donations are always appreciated since donating to the Cape May County Zoological Society will ensure the Zoo provides ongoing experiences for all ages. Parking is free, and it’s first come, first serve. The Zoo is open every day except for Christmas Day. Summer hours are 10 AM – 4:30 PM (March 8, 2024-October 31, 2024), and the fall/winter hours are 10 AM – 3:30 PM (November 1, 2024-March 6, 2025). The Park is open year-round from 7 AM to dusk, except for Christmas Day. Strollers, wheelchairs, wagons, and motorized scooters are welcome and available to rent. Food is permitted anywhere in the surrounding Park but not in the Zoo. Non-alcoholic beverages, baby food, and bottles are allowed in the Zoo. Food is available at the Safari Cafe and Tiger Hut, and there is a picnic pavilion outside the Zoo where you can bring your own lunch. For the 80-minute Zoo Tour up to four people is $200 ($50 for each additional person, with a max of 10). Encounters range from $100 to $400 for 1-4 people, and additional guests are charged an extra fee. Depending on the animal, there are some age limits on the Encounters—the giraffe, camel, and reptile require that participants be 5 years or older.

Cape May Zoo 
707 North Route 9
Cape May Court House, NJ 08210

For more information about the Cape May County Zoo, visit their website, Facebook or Instagram.

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