The Turtle Back Zoo has added one or two attractions per year for the last few years. If you haven't been in a while, you may want to go back. It is run by the County of Essex. Many of the "staff" are volunteer docents. The paid staff are minimally trained youths. Hence, I can understand the comment from CarolN 1226 about the attendant at the pony ride insulting one of her children. The pony rides are for small children and there is a height restriction for "too tall." That might also be a weight restriction to protect the animals. The zoo makes a strong effort to protect the animals.
We have been going for years and enjoy it every time. Our nephew is now 8 1/2. this time he rode the zip line and had a blast. The staff at the zip line and Adventure Trail were more professional than at the animal exhibits. they were very knowledgeable and well-versed in safety considerations. There is a separate fee for the Adventure trails (one is junior one is adult) and the zip-line $10. YO can go directly to the Adventure trails and zip-line without entering the zoo if you wish.
The new sea lion exhibit and touch tank are great additions.
Unfortunately you cannot count on seeing every animal on every visit. They are not always active and sometimes are in their caves or homes away from sight. The larger animals are mostly outside all the time though and in view.
The train ride is a big hit. it's no extra charge and kids love it. it's about a 9 minutes ride through woods, a tunnel (train storage shed) and along the lake shore. The line gets long but it's worth wait for youngsters.
You can bring your own picnic lunch (recommended as the food facility is high-priced and, in my opinion, not nutritious or tasty). There are many picnic tables.
Next door to the zoo is a miniature golf course with an animal theme. Next to that is an upscale dining facility, McLoone's Boathouse, and next to that is a paddle-boat area. Between McLoone's and the paddle boats is walk-path along the lake shore.
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