WEST ORANGE, NJ — The public is invited to attend the 17th Annual Essex County Open House at Essex County Turtle Back Zoo on June 1 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The carnival-like event combines games and activities to entertain and provide information to raise public awareness about the programs and services provided by Essex County.

“Our Annual Open House has become a county tradition that our residents look forward to attending,” said DiVincenzo. “Hosting this popular event at Turtle Back Zoo is a unique way to make county government more accessible and raise awareness about the many ways we contribute to our residents’ quality of life.”

In addition to learning more about county government, guests are invited to take advantage of the free admission to the zoo to enjoy some the newest animal habitats, such as the giraffes, lions, penguins, flamingos, sea lions, sting rays, jaguars, Gibbon apes, wolves, otters, alligators, reptiles and bears. Participants can also golf on the miniGOLF Safari miniature golf course and take a ride on the ponies, carousel and miniature train.

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“Turtle Back Zoo is a fantastic family destination that has been recognized by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, American Humane and the Zoological Association of America for providing the highest standards of animal care,” said DiVincenzo. “We encourage you to experience a fun-filled, wild adventure at our family-friendly destination.”

The annual open house is an opportunity for Essex County employees to display their creativity and enthusiasm and promote their offices and services. Carnival games, treasure chests, prize wheels and trivia tests are some of the creative activities that will make this year’s event exciting. Every county department, division and office, including county-related agencies and authorities, will have information about their functions, and directors and employees will be on hand to answer questions.  

Free parking is available on-site and at the Essex County South Mountain Park-N-Ride facility. Turtle Back Zoo admission and rides on the miniature train are free. Admission to the miniGOLF Safari is $10 for children and $12 for adults. Carousel and pony rides are $2 each. Feed sticks at the Outback Adventure Aviary are $2. Fees also apply at the Treetop Adventure Course and Paddle Boating on the Orange Reservoir. For more information, call 973-621-4400.