Turtle Back Zoo is located in West Orange, New Jersey and is part of the Essex County Park System, the oldest county park system in the United States. It has earned accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, which makes it eligible for state and federal funding and to participate in animal exchanges with other association members. The zoo is adjacent to Richard J. Codey Arena, practice rink of the New Jersey Devils.
The original focus of the zoo was to exhibit local wildlife, but has expanded to include wildlife from six continents. The local aspect of the exhibits is evident in the Wild New Jersey area, the Wolf Woods, and the American Black Bear exhibit.
In the Turtle Back Zoo's recent expansion to a wider array of wildlife, it opened a $4.6 million reptile house. Notable residents of the reptile house are a pair of nine-foot-long "Black Dragons" that are believed to be the only two on display in he world. The Black Dragons are a species of monitor lizard discovered in 2005 in Malaysia which has yet to be given a scientific name. The Turtle Back Zoo also became the first zoo in the country to exhibit a Filipino species of bat called the golden mantled flying foxes.
There is also a petting zoo of common farm animals called the Essex Farm and a playground with carousel. A miniature stream train departs from the zoo and takes families for a ride along the nearby reservoir in South Mountain Reservation.
Related Blog Posts:
Turtle Back Zoo Welcomes Snow Leopard for Valentine's Day
Turtle Back Zoo Features Medieval Times to Welcome Komodo Dragon
Behind-the-Scenes Look at New Turtle Back Zoo Aquarium
Escaped Leopard Temporarily Shuts Down Turtle Back Zoo; No Public Danger