Turtle Back Zoo Is Back in Action - My9 New Jersey

Turtle Back Zoo Is Back in Action

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West Orange, New Jersey (My9NJ) - Just five years ago, there was talk about closing down the Turtle Back Zoo in West Orange, New Jersey. Luckily, Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo, had a vision that the zoo could be something great and would be beneficial to the county. Now the the zoo is thriving!

The zoo costs about $2.7 million to upkeep, but makes $5.1 million in revenue. Now the Turtle Back Zoo is fully equipped with new and improved exhibits of animals, and a brand new waterfront path complete with paddle boats, bridges and beautiful landscaping.

The zoo also has a new treetop adventure course complete with a zip line. The old course was destroyed in Superstorm Sandy, but it was rebuilt and improved for $1.7 million with money from insurance companies, Sandy funds, capital improvements bonds from the county, and Governor Christie’s Green Acres Program Grants.DiVincenzo said that it is money well spent in order to rebuild New Jersey’s only course of its kind. The treetop course has brought in $500,000 alone since it has opened at the end of last year.

“We have people coming from all throughout the state and other parts of the country on visits when they vacation, it’s been very successful and people love it. It gives people a chance to get outside and get exercise right here in their own back yard,” DiVincenzo stated.

The zoo inhabits red pandas, jaguars, snow leopards, bobcats, capybaras, and the newest exhibit, the sea lions. This $5 million dollar exhibit was a project DiVincenzo worked on with Governor Christie for the zoo’s 50th anniversary last year, and it is the pride of the Turtle Back Zoo.

With the summer months approaching, the Turtle Back Zoo is bound to get a lot of foot traffic, and bring in revenue for Essex County.


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