WEST ORANGE, NJ — On New Jersey Family’s recently published “Ultimate Bucket List,” the second annual list of not-to-miss places in New Jersey, local destinations like the Turtle Back Zoo, Star Tavern, Verona Park and more were among those selected as bucket list attractions.

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. Favorite zoo, a sub-category under “Fun Stuff,” was awarded to the Turtle Back Zoo.

“This Essex County gem is always evolving,” NJ Family said about the zoo. “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 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.”

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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 neighboring Orange’s Star Tavern, which NJ Family readers “continue to pick” as one of the best places to eat in New Jersey, according to the bucket list.

“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.”

Some other winners out of Essex County included 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 and Applegate Farms in Montclair for best ice cream. 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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