This weekend I headed south into Jersey to spend time with my sister and my nephew. It was a preplanned trip- Sharyn had called me a few weeks ago and asked if I would accompany her, Little Man, and a friend’s daughter to the zoo while she ran a table of information for her job. I was definitely not passing up the chance for some time with them, and for one of Little Man’s first trips to the zoo.
Arriving at the Turtle Back Zoo early so Sharyn could set up for the event, we had the chance to look around and semi-plot our course of action. First up was a train ride: Little Man is a huge Thomas the Tank Engine fan, so we knew there would be multiple train rides throughout the day, but we decided to start while the line was short. The train ride runs through the reserve adjacent to the zoo, along the water. It was a beautiful ride and a fun start to the day.
Then we started through the exhibits. Little Man’s favorite exhibit, without question, was the monkeys and the gibbons. They were high up and moving around quite a bit each time we passed by, and he would watch and squeal each time. He did a pretty good monkey call- he got the attention of all the monkeys with one squeal. Being the climber that he is, I was not at all surprised that the monkeys were his favorite. What surprised me is that it was my favorite exhibit of the day as well. It made me laugh- you looked up and saw the moneys up high, and then looking down, there was a huge tortise at the bottom. How did he get in there?
Turtle Back Zoo has a fantastic play area, with ducks and frogs to climb on, a spider web, a nest, and a big sliding board. Kids can also see the prairie dogs at their level, with plastic bubbles for the kids to put their heads up through. Little Man ran from the duck to the frog, and climbed in and out of the nest a few times before starting to slow down just a bit.
The zoo has a small stage and a grassy area beside it, and because there was an event, they had a live band. We enjoyed our lunch on the grass and danced to the band.
After the event ended, we rejoined my sister for a stroll around the zoo with Little Man…who proceeded to fall soundly asleep, exhausted from all the playing and exploring he had done. He stayed asleep right up until dinner at a great Tex-Mex/Cajun restaurant in Fairfield. But he was definitely awake enough to steal some of his aunty’s pumpkin milkshake when we stopped at an ice cream a little later.
It was a fantastic day, and I am really kicking myself for not having a camera- this one was totally a pictures worthy experience. It was relaxing to just meander around the zoo and enjoy what a beautiful fall Saturday it was, even if I was meandering with an active 15 month old boy. I highly recommend the Turtle Back Zoo for those who are local and looking for a fairly inexpensive way to spend a Saturday afternoon.