when I was a kid going to the zoo was like Christmas and birthday taking place at the same day. I always enjoyed seeing the animals and learning about them and I still do it. Now that I´m a nanny I love to bring the kids to the zoo and share my knowledge with them.
Luckily we have the turtle back zoo right around the corner, because of that we also have a annual membership and we use it a lot. Mostly when the kids are home from school or when the kids ask to see a specific animal. This is when the membership comes in handy. This might not be the usual day trip when you stay in New York City because they have zoo too but it would only be 40 minutes by car and 30 minutes from Morristown.
The zoo is a nice middle-sized zoo and just welcomed a new safari themed cafe and a giraffe habitat. Both were build over the winter and gave the zoo a whole new face. Right now they are in the planning for more new things and I can´t wait to see what else they have in store. You will not find the usual animals you find in other zoo´s like lions or elephants but you can find other entertaining habitats which are clean and enjoyable. The environment is really family-friendly and your kids will love it.
I personally recommend going during the week because the weekends can be a little crowded even tho the crowed is spread out well. The zoo opens at 10am, this is also the time I suggest to go, and lines will build fast at the train station and the touch tank. Besides these 2 free attractions the zoo offers some for a small amount like a carousel ride, face painting, pony ride, the bird aviary and the butterfly tunnel.
We normally start with the train ride, it takes about 10 minutes and shows you a little bit of the south mountain reservation, which the zoo is build in. The kids love the ride and love to see the lake and the swan boats. At the end the kids decide if they want to go see the sting rays or the monkeys. This will lead us the way for the rest of the zoo visit. Right now the kids are in love with the giraffes and the eagles, both on different sides of the zoo. A good reason to take our time and see everything from the black bears, to the sea lions and to the leopards.
When the kids get hungry we are going to one of the many seating areas to sit down and eat our pre-packed lunch or snack. I would love to bring the kids to the new cafe because they have a good menu but if I start once they want it all the time. During lunch we speak about the animals we saw so far and sometimes I bring crayons and paper, that the kids can draw their favorite animal.
After lunch we see the last view animals and visit the carousel. This is always the last thing to do for us and the kids are super excited about it. We never had a long wait in 24 visits and the staff is really nice with the kids. If they kids got some energy left we will visit the playground which is dinosaur themed and the kids love it. I´m sure we will be back many more times.