WEST ORANGE, NJ - Turtle Back Zoo has reached the half-million mark for visitors, and September has only begun. As of August 31, the Zoo greeted 509,417 visitors, and August alone set a montly attendance record of 106,816.

“Thank you to the families, school groups and organizations that choose to make our Zoo their destination. It is amazing to watch the excitement on children’s faces as they see animals up close and humbling to see so many people become fans of Turtle Back,” DiVincenzo said.

“We invite the public to observe our natural habitat-themed animal exhibits, climb on our Treetop Adventure Course, putt on our miniGOLF Safari, take a paddle boat ride, stroll around the Orange Reservoir and experience a wild adventure with us.” 

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The milestone is significant because the trending numbers indicate another record-breaking attendance year. In December 2013, it was announced that 621,828 visitors had come through the gates of Turtle Back Zoo, and the half million mark wasn't reached until the end of September.

Revenues of over $4 million annually are also being realized at the Zoo, allowing it to operate as a self-sustaining facility (with revenue collected exceeding operating expenses). In addition, the Zoo earned its second five-year accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums in 2011, a clear indication that an institution is committed to the highest standards in animal care, ethics, conservation and education. It also has been named the Best Zoo in New Jersey by NJ Monthly magazine in each of the last three years and received a Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor.com the last two years.

Turtle Back Zoo is open Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Admission is $11 for adults, $8 for children and senior citizens, and free for children younger than 2 years. For more information, please call 973-731-5800 or visit www.essexcountynj.org.