Arts & Culture

Turtle Back Zoo to Host Family Nights and Zoo-vies Wednesday and Thursday Nights

From Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo:

Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. invites the public to enjoy summer evenings at Essex County Turtle Back Zoo. On Wednesdays and Thursdays during the months of July and August, Turtle Back will have Family Nights with extended evening hours to 8:30 p.m., with the last admission to the Zoo at 8 p.m. In addition, on Wednesday evenings during July and August, Zoo-vies, featuring animal-related movies, will be shown on the top floor of the Turtle Back Zoo Parking Deck.

“Join us for Family Night when the Zoo has extended hours until 8:30 p.m. Take advantage of the late hours when temperatures are cooler and the workday is over,” DiVincenzo said. “In addition, come out for a family-friendly evening under the stars watching great movies on the top deck of our Zoo parking garage. It’s a great way to spend a summer night and experience Turtle Back in a completely different way,” he added.

Family Nights will be held on Wednesdays, July 11, 18 and 25 and August 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29 and Thursdays, July 5, 12, 19 and 26 and August 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30. Zoo hours will be extended to 8:30 p.m. with the last admission being at 8 p.m.

Families coming to Zoo-vies should bring their own chair or blanket on which to sit. Films will begin at dusk. Admission to the movies is free, and movies will be cancelled in the event of rain. The schedule for Zoo-viesis as follows:

Wednesday, July 11th          Peter Rabbit

Wednesday, July 18th          Wall-E

Wednesday, July 25th          Deep

Wednesday, August 1st       George of the Jungle

Wednesday, August 8th       Paddington 2

Wednesday, August 15th     Ratatouille

Wednesday, August 22nd     Kong: Skull Island

Wednesday, August 29th     The Jungle Book

Turtle Back Zoo is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Regular admission is $12 for children and senior citizens, $15 for adults and free for children under 2 years. For additional information, please call 973-731-5800 or visit www.essexcountynj.org/turtlebackzoo.

Revitalizing Essex County Turtle Back Zoo

Since taking office in 2003, DiVincenzo has spearheaded over $70 million in upgrades to Essex County Turtle Back Zoo, which have included developing the Carousel with 33 figures of endangered animals; building the African Adventure with giraffes, penguins, lions and hyenas; Sea Lion Sound Exhibit with sea lions, sharks and stingrays; the Big Cat Country Exhibit with Jaguars and Cougars; Tam-ring Gibbons Reserve with Gibbons apes, Reeves muntjac and white naped cranes; Australian Exhibit that features kangaroos, wallabies, emus and over 500 birds in the Aviary; Reptile and Education Center, open air dining pavilion and playground, Penguin Exhibit, Otter Exhibit, Wolf Exhibit, Alligator Exhibit, North American Animal Exhibit, Black Bear Exhibit, Animal Hospital, Essex Farm Petting Zoo and South American Animal Exhibit; making upgrades to the entrance as well as fencing and infrastructure to meet AZA requirements. Funding has been provided through Green Acres grants, existing capital improvement bonds, or donations from the Zoological Society, Essex County Parks Foundation, corporations or private foundations. Corporations that have provided support include Investors Bank, Prudential Financial, Inc., Wells Fargo (Wachovia Bank), PNC Bank, PSE&G, Verizon, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, Coca Cola, Capital One Bank, TD Bank, Aramark, Covanta Energy and OxyMagic carpet cleaning.

The Essex County Park System was created in 1895 and is the first county park system established in the United States. The Park System consists of more than 6,000 acres and has 23 parks, five reservations, an environmental center, a zoo, Treetop Adventure Course, ice skating rink, roller skating rink, three public golf courses, golf driving range, two miniature golf courses, three off-leash dog facilities, a castle and the Presby Memorial Iris Gardens. Turtle Back Zoo is located in Essex County’s South Mountain Reservation and was opened to the public in 1963.

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