ATLANTIC CITY, NJ — Essex County Turtle Back Zoo African Adventure, opened at the West Orange-based zoo in May 2016, recently earned an Excellence in Design award at the annual New Jersey Recreation and Parks Association (NJRPA) convention held in Atlantic City. Elsewhere in Essex County, the playground at Grover Cleveland Park in Caldwell/Essex Fells also received an Award of Excellence.
Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo, Jr. accepted the awards on behalf of the Essex County Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs along with parks director Dan Salvante and deputy parks director Kate Hartwyk, who are pictured above with the awards.
"I am so proud of our parks department for the statewide recognition they received from the NJRPA,” said DiVincenzo. “Our parks and Turtle Back Zoo are community gathering places that our residents use for recreation, athletic activities, relaxation and more, and contribute greatly to our quality of life.
The Essex County Turtle Back Zoo African Adventure exhibit area opened with a Giraffe Exhibit in May 2016 and was expanded in 2017 to include the Ronald Mount Lion and Hyena Exhibit and in 2018 to include the Shores of Africa Penguin Exhibit. Each exhibit is part of Turtle Back's ongoing commitment to education and conservation.
Opened in May 2018, the playground at Essex County Grover Cleveland Park has two play areas near the Children's House: one for children ages 2-5 and one for children ages 5-12. There are climbing apparatus, slides, spinners and swings for both age groups, including handicap-accessible swings.
A new feature is a miniature zip line. The facility has a rubberized safety surface in areas where play equipment is located. There are also grassy areas where children can run and play. In the center of the playground is a seating area from where parents can watch their children.