11 Zoos in New Jersey And Nearby To Visit Now


Zoos in New Jersey have it all—whether you are looking to get up close to an exotic species, learn more about wildlife education, or pet a friendly farm animal, you can do it in the Garden State. The good news? Most NJ zoos are open all year (with seasonal hours), and kids will love to see their favorite animals in different seasons. Scroll down to find a zoo in New Jersey near you to visit right now, or check out a petting zoo in NJ. (featured photo credit: @capemaycountyzoo)

Zoos in New Jersey And Nearby Worth The Trip

boys watching the flamingos zoos in New Jersey, Turtleback Zo nj mom nj

See pink flamingos and more at the Turtle Back Zoo in NJ. Photo Credit: @mbrahney

Turtle Back Zoo

Part of the South Mountain Recreation Complex, Essex County’s Turtle Back Zoo in New Jersey is one of the most well-known and loved facilities to expose your children to wildlife from around the world. Check out the red panda, big cats, sea turtles, sea lions, stingrays at the touch station, giraffes, barnyard animals, and animals that call NJ home, including bears and wolves. And even if you’ve been here a bunch of times, there’s always something new—the zoo recently upgraded its wildly popular African Adventures section with the addition of Shores of Africa, an indoor exhibit of African penguins and pelicans, and features a hatchery. If you’re up for more fun, check out the rest of the complex, including a zip line adventure and the Regatta playground.
Open daily all year long
560 Northfield Avenue, West Orange, NJ 07052

cape may county zoo in New Jersey monkeys hanging upside down nj mom nj

Just monkeying around at the Cape May Zoo in New Jersey. Photo Credit: @capemaycountyzoo

Cape May County Park & Zoo 

The 85 acres of wildlife exhibits make this zoo in southern New Jersey a staple for animal lovers. And did we mention it’s FREE? You have access to over 550 animals spanning 250 species, including cheetahs, red pandas, camels, snow leopards, lemurs, zebras, bears, and various monkeys. And if you are looking for more, they have Zoo Camp, a Littlest Explorers program, and birthday parties.
Summer hours start March 8, 2024
707 North Route 9, Cape May, NJ 08210

Van Saun County Park 

Also known as the Bergen County Zoological Park, your family will leave with a heightened appreciation for the world’s wild places. Besides exploring “New World” animal exhibits of North and South America, with Andean Condors, American Alligators, and South American Pampas, this New Jersey zoo operates train rides, carousel rides, pony rides, and free live animal shows in the zoo amphitheater. This accredited animal sanctuary fosters relationships between the public and our animal neighbors to keep everybody educated and safe.
Regular hours start on April 1, 2024
216 Forest Avenue, Paramus, NJ 07652

space farms zoo in New Jersey little boy with deer nj mom nj

Oh, Deer! Space Farms Zoo in New Jersey is one not to miss. Photo Credit: @morganmanages

Space Farms Zoo & Museum 

Discover over 100 native North American species in this record-breaking zoo in New Jersey, founded in 1927 by Ralph and Elizabeth Space. With over 500 live animals, including monkeys, leopards, jaguars, coyotes, and buffalo, your family can spend the entire day engaged in wildlife fun while exploring the grounds and snagging priceless photo ops. Space Farms’ museum comprises nine buildings with over 50 antique cars and motorcycles, vintage dolls, artifacts, and much more.
Reopens April 2024
218 County Road 519, Wantage, NJ 07461

zoos in New Jersey, popcorn park zoo geese and popcorn nj mom nj

A box of popcorn is a must while seeing animals at the Popcorn Zoo. Photo Taken at Popcorn Park Zoo

Popcorn Park Refuge & Zoo

Popcorn Park is one of three shelters that comprise the Associated Humane Societies, the most extensive animal sheltering system in New Jersey. A visit to this sanctuary will allow your family to see up close various animals who were once abandoned, injured, abused, or ill and were taken into the facility for rehabilitation. Popcorn Zoo in New Jersey continues to do good for the Garden State’s wildlife, farm animals, and pets daily and teaches kids about the importance of helping these special creatures.
Open daily all year long
1 Humane Way, Forked River, NJ 08731

Liberty Science Center

Visit the third floor of the Liberty Science Center to see the Wild About Animals exhibit, where your kids will spot cotton-top tamarin monkeys, naked mole rats, red-footed tortoises, and more. This Jersey City zoo in the museum has over one hundred animal species, and kids will have a ball watching the hermit crabs climb in the Hermit Crab Playground or a snake slither through a snake maze. And make sure to catch one of their Animal Encounter shows for an entertaining and educational presentation about the animals who call Liberty Science Center home. 
The schedule varies; check ahead 
222 Jersey City Blvd, Jersey City, NJ 07305

Lakota wolf preserve wolf lying down in the grass nj mom nj

Check out this wolf lounging at the Lakota Wolf Preserve in NJ. Photo Credit: @lakotawolfpreserve

Lakota Wolf Preserve

Though not your most traditional zoo in New Jersey, Lakota Wolf Preserve (the largest in the Northeast) is a treasured destination for animal lovers of all ages to experience the beauty and grace of these endangered creatures. The facility’s two owners lead educational Wolf Watch Tours, allowing families to learn about the wolves’ pack structure, eating habits, human interaction, and more fun facts in a safe and interactive environment. This exceptional wildlife experience is recommended for New Jersey families looking for a memorable way to appreciate our animal friends.
Dates and times vary; check ahead
89 Mt Pleasant Road, Columbia, NJ 07832

zoos in New Jersey girl with giraffe nj mom nj

Say cheese with the giraffes at the Six Flags Wild Safari Drive-Thru Adventure. Photo Credit: @familyroadtraveled

Six Flags Wild Safari Adventure 

Transport your family to an authentic safari experience with a brand new adventure—a guided tour in an open-air jeep vehicle that lets you see over 1,200 animals from all over the planet. The Safari Off Road Adventure makes round-trip excursions from the all-new Wild Safari Base Camp or the Safari Off Road Adventure station within Six Flags Great Adventure theme park. You’ll see animals from 6 continents on over 350 acres—be on the lookout for giraffes, tigers, bears, and elephants in areas that mimic their natural habitats. 
Opens March 30
1 Six Flags Boulevard, Jackson, NJ 08527

Cohanzick Zoo

The oldest zoo in New Jersey has free entry, letting you explore the habitats at your leisure or enjoy one of their zoo events. Zoo-Education Workshops and Zoo Camp are excellent ways for your kids to learn about animal friends from professional zookeepers—your kids can see the skills it takes to care for a big black bear up close and personal. After, enjoy the park and a family lunch in one of the lovely picnic areas between exhibits.
Open daily all year long
45 Mayor Aitken Drive, Bridgeton, NJ 08302

Philadelphia Zoo

The first official zoo in the country, the Philadelphia Zoo, opened its doors in 1874 and today has 42 acres with over 1,900 animals. Kids will be in awe of the animals at this zoo, which features Amur tigers, gorillas, giraffes, and even a white rhino. Don’t miss the 330-foot overhead passageway (the first in the world), where you can see lions, pumas, jaguars, and more walk right over your head. But that’s not all—you can also come face to face with an endangered primate and learn what conservationists are doing to save them at the PECO Primate Reserve.
Open daily all year long
3400 W. Girard Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19104

Bronx Zoo

Visit the 265 acres with 10,000 animals inside and out. You’ll see Siberian tigers, snow leopards, Magellanic penguins, and more, as well as herds of animals that feel as if you’re watching them in their natural habitats. Besides the expansive outdoor viewing areas (make sure you bring comfy shoes and a stroller for little ones; there’s a lot of walking), you can go inside to special exhibits featuring langurs at JungleWorld and lemurs at Madagascar for a treat in any season.
Extended hours begin March 29, 2024
2300 Southern Blvd., Bronx, NY 10460

Which zoos in New Jersey are on your bucket list? 

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About Author

Melanie Bodner has always had a love for writing, but now she has a new love…being a mom. Before having her kids, Melanie was no stranger to writing or working with children. She wrote for a local newspaper as a reporter and taught English and Dance in a public school. Now Melanie enjoys spending time with her kids, doing yoga, writing and decorating her home. Check out her Instagram @burlapbythebeach.