ESSEX COUNTY AREA, NJ — On New Jersey Family’s recently published “Ultimate Bucket List,” the second annual list of not-to-miss places in New Jersey, six Essex County attractions were among those selected as bucket list destinations.

New Jersey Family asked its readers to vote for their favorite things to do in and around New Jersey, and the magazine selected winners for Outdoor Faves, Fun Stuff, Good Eats and Me Time.

The winners out of Essex County included the Essex County Turtle Back Zoo for favorite zoo; Star Tavern in Orange for best pizza; Board and Brush in Livingston for Most Fun DIY Night Out; Tops Diner in East Newark for best diner; Verona Park in Verona for best park or playground; and Applegate Farms in Montclair for best ice cream.

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Favorite zoo, a sub-category under “Fun Stuff,” was awarded to Turtle Back because “this Essex County gem is always evolving,” according to NJ Family.

“Turtle Back recently added South African penguins to its impressive collection of giraffes, bears, lions and monkeys, and will introduce a flamingo exhibit this fall,” the magazine said of the zoo. “The kids can touch stingrays, ride the train or explore the treetop adventure course and zip line. The West Orange attraction also has a petting zoo and aviary where you can get up close and personal with furry and feathered friends.”

Among the other sub-categories were favorite beach, hidden gems, most “Instaworthy” spots, park or playground, hiking spot, farm, lake, downtown, top seafood, sweetest pancakes, best bagels, best spa experience, winery, kid-free getaway, flea market, outlet mall, top family-friendly museum, coolest arcade, boardwalk destination, amusement or water park, indoor play place, best holiday pit stops and more.

Best pizza was awarded to Orange’s Star Tavern, which

In explanation of its decision to name Star Tavern as New Jersey’s best pizza, NJ Family said that is readers “continue to pick” the pizza restaurant as one of the best places to eat in New Jersey.

“And with good reason,” the magazine states. “The tavern might look like a typical bar and grill, but it’s home to thin crust pizza that took the kitchen 65 years to master.”

In addition to the Essex County attractions, Five Guys, with locations in nearby East Hanover and Madison, was selected for best burgers.

To see the full list of local favorites, click HERE.

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