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Turtle Back Zoo, West Orange NJ

Update #2- 3/29/2016- Lots going on at TBZ. The giraffes are here, but not visible to the public yet.  Saw some massive construction going on.  Some changes since 2013 including removal of digger at playground, and no water & pebbles at  table noted below.

Turtle Back Zoo Dining/Cafeteria area is under construction 3/29/2016 photo

Turtle Back Zoo Dining/Cafeteria area is under construction 3/29/2016 photo

Update: (10/23/2013) – Hey everyone, it’s Sheila from  Just wanted to update this post with pictures of the “newish” dinosaur playground located near top of the hill (close to petting zoo just a bit down the hill).  This has been a family favorite, and we wanted to share our experience this past summer…

Canopy area includes water table, digging area

Canopy area includes water table, digging area

Water Table- pebbles and dirt, always fun but messy!

Water Table- pebbles and dirt, always fun but messy! (no water and pebbles last we saw on 3/2016)

Chalkboard under canopy

Chalkboard under canopy

Digger by the Dinosaur Canopy area

Digger by the Dinosaur Canopy area (didn’t see these on 3/2016, I think they took them out)

Rock to Climb

Rock to Climb

Smaller Structure

Smaller Structure

Dinosaur structure

Dinosaur structure

Turtle Back Zoo Playground Dinosaur Park

Another View of Twisty Slide

Twisty Slide

Twisty Slide

Touch Tank

Touch Tank: Sting Rays! – not a playground pic but a new attraction at TBZ



Caitlin and I with the Medieval Times King visiting TBZ

Located on 560 Northfield Avenue in West Orange NJ, Turtle Back Zoo has been a long-time favorite place to go for my family. So much so we got the annual membership. We had received an invitation to check out the zoo again during their Medieval Times promotion for the unveiling of the komodo dragon exhibit.

This is definitely a great place to take the family which not only features a great variety of animals, but has additional attractions including:

  • prairie dog tunnel

Be one with the prairie dogs

  • Update, this small playground is no longer here-
The triple slides at Turtle Back Zoo (no longer here)

Cute Eggs to crawl into or sit in depending on your size!

Sheila’s Crew

  • petting zoo

Farm Animals- Petting zoo in back

  • breezy train ride by the reservoir (my boys favorite when they were 3y and 4y)

Shady and Refreshing Train Ride

  • a carousel (you pay a little extra for that) $2/kid (adult rides free with kid)

3/2016 photo of Turtle Back Zoo Carousel

For more information, make sure you visit Turtle Back Zoo’s website for hours, directions and details on the exhibits.

Professional Zoo Observers

TBZ is always adding extra fun stuff as well. This summer it shows off their butterfly exhibit, which is definitely worth the $2 admission if you enjoy taking your time to check out the caterpillars, cocoons, and budding butterflies. My friend had such a great time, she sent me footage which I included in a video below.

Make sure you check out our review on the mini-golf course that is part of Turtle Back Zoo’s South Mountain Recreation Area. You can easily spend the day here. Like ziplines? Follow the path left of the carousel to the treetop obstacle course, (you must be at least 52″ tall and weigh less than 250 lbs.)

Need a new place to visit? Check out all of our NJ outdoor attractions reviews here! 

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