Essex County News

Turtle Back Zoo Offers Family Nights and Zoo-vies in July and August


West Orange, NJ –Turtle Back Zoo will Have Family Nights with extended evening hours and free Zoo-vies in July and August.  On Wednesdays and Thursdays during the months of July and August, Turtle Back will have Family Nights with extended evening hours to 8:30 p.m., with the last admission to the Zoo at 8 p.m. In addition, on Wednesday evenings during July and August, Zoo-vies, featuring animal-related movies, will be shown on the top floor of the Turtle Back Zoo Parking Deck.

“Join us for Family Night when the Zoo has extended hours until 8:30 p.m. Take advantage of the late hours when temperatures are cooler and the workday is over,” DiVincenzo said. “In addition, come out for a family-friendly evening under the stars watching great movies on the top deck of our Zoo parking garage. It’s a great way to spend a summer night and experience Turtle Back in a completely different way,” he added.

Family Nights will be held on Wednesdays, July 5, 12, 19 and 26 and August 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30 and Thursdays, July 6, 13, 20 and 27 and August 3, 10, 17, 24 and 31. In addition, Thursdays in August are Pokémon GO Zoo Nights! Enjoy catching and battling unique creatures throughout the zoo with 17 PokeStops and 2 Gyms. Lures are released every half hour during the event. Paid admission is required to enter the zoo each evening. Learn more about playing Pokémon Go at the Zoo at

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Families coming to Zoo-vies should bring their own chair or blanket on which to sit. Films will begin at dusk. Admission to the movies is free, and movies will be cancelled in the event of rain. The schedule for Zoo-vies is as follows:

Wednesday, July 5th               Disneynature African Cats

Wednesday, July 12th             Tarzan

Wednesday, July 19th             The Adventures of Milo and Otis

Wednesday, July 26th             The Secret Life of Pets

Wednesday, August 2nd          Ferngully: The Last Rain Forest

Wednesday, August 9th          How to Train Your Dragon

Wednesday, August 16th        Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom

Wednesday, August 23rd        Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them

Wednesday, August 30th        Moana

Turtle Back Zoo is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Regular admission is $12 for children and senior citizens, $15 for adults and free for children under 2 years. For additional information, please call 973-731-5800 or


Revitalizing Essex County Turtle Back Zoo


Since taking office in 2003, DiVincenzo has spearheaded over $70 million in upgrades to Essex County Turtle Back Zoo, which have included developing the Carousel with 33 figures of endangered animals; building the African Adventure with giraffes, lions and hyenas; Sea Lion Sound Exhibit with sea lions, sharks and sting rays; the Big Cat Country Exhibit with Jaguars and Cougars; Tam-ring Gibbons Reserve with Gibbons apes, Reeves muntjac and white naped cranes; Australian Exhibit that features kangaroos, wallabies, emus and over 500 birds in the Aviary; Reptile and Education Center, open air dining pavilion and playground, Penguin Exhibit, Otter Exhibit, Wolf Exhibit, Alligator Exhibit, North American Animal Exhibit, Black Bear Exhibit, Animal Hospital, Essex Farm Petting Zoo and South American Animal Exhibit; renovating the Food Pavilion for year-round use and making upgrades to the entrance as well as fencing and infrastructure to meet AZA requirements. Funding has been provided through Green Acres grants, existing capital improvement bonds, or donations from the Zoological Society, Essex County Parks Foundation, corporations or private foundations. Corporations that have provided support include Investors Bank, Prudential Financial, Inc., Wells Fargo (Wachovia Bank), PNC Bank, PSE&G, Verizon, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, Coca Cola, Capital One Bank, TD Bank, Aramark, Covanta Energy and OxyMagic carpet cleaning.


The Essex County Park System was created in 1895 and is the first county park system established in the United States. The Park System consists of more than 6,000 acres and has 23 parks, five reservations, an environmental center, a zoo, Treetop Adventure Course, ice skating rink, roller skating rink, three public golf courses, golf driving range, two miniature golf courses, three off-leash dog facilities, a castle and the Presby Memorial Iris Gardens. Turtle Back Zoo is located in Essex County’s South Mountain Reservation and was opened to the public in 1963.


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