If you are a creature lover like I am, then you are always on the lookout for unique zoos and aquariums to learn more about different wildlife environments local and from around the world. This June is National Zoo and Aquarium Month; so, it is the perfect time to check out some hidden zoo and aquarium gems that you might not be aware of. Bring the family or explore on your own.
The Cape May County Zoo in Cape May County Courthouse is a free admission zoo that is the perfect stop for people visiting the New Jersey shore. There are over 550 critters and about 200 species of animals including lions, tigers and bears (Oh, My!) as well as red pandas, red foxes, camels and many more. If you bring the children, they can also work off some energy in the Central Park Playground that is outside the zoo. The zoo is open every day from 10:00 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.
An upcoming special event at the Cape May County Zoo is perfect for the adult animal lover. Night with the Critters where you can experience live animal demonstrations will take place on Friday, June 28 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
The Cohanzick Zoo in Bridgeton, NJ is New Jersey’s first zoo. It is a small free zoo of about 100 animals located on about 15 acres of land. Come meet their white tiger Ganesha and their Asiatic black bear, Holly and an assortment of 45 different species. This zoo is open Monday through Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
In Norristown, PA, they have their own hidden gem in the Elmwood Park Zoo. Established in 1924, this zoo has a collection of about 300 animals including amphibians (Blue Poison Dart frog, Puerto Rican Crested toad), birds (Bald eagle, Green-winged macaw, Chilean barn owl, Chilean flamingo), Koi fish, invertebrates (spiders, bees, jellyfish), mammals (American bison, cougar, Gray wolf) and reptiles (American alligator and the Red-Footed tortoise). Their newest exhibit is the capybara exhibit which now is the new home of one male and two new female capybara. The zoo is open Monday through Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Elmwood Zoo has two upcoming events this June: Independence Blue Cross Township day on Saturday, June 21 where Pottstown residents can get in for free and the Beast of Feast, a special adult fundraiser for the zoo on Saturday, June 28 at 6 p.m.
In Wilmington, DE, you don’t have to go far to get your animal fix. The Brandywine Zoo is home to 150 animals (56 species) including the Clouded Leopard, Eastern Box Turtle, Florida Bobcat, Honduran Milk Snake and the Swift Fox. They are also hosting Animal Close Encounters from Wednesday June 18 through Tuesday, June 24 at 11:00 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
Let’s not forget the local aquariums either. Adventure Aquarium in Camden, New Jersey is home to many aquatic exhibits including Hippo Haven and the Jules Verne Gallery. Come meet Nile hippos Button and Genny at the aquarium’s Hippo Haven Experience. Did you know that they are the only aquarium in the world to exhibit hippos? In the Jules Verne Gallery, named after the author of Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, you can learn about strange creatures of the deep. Don’t forget the penguins, sharks, stingrays, sea turtles and so many more. This aquarium is open daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Down the shore along the waterfront in Atlantic City, the Atlantic City Aquarium is also another great place to meet marine life outside of the ocean. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., they offer visitors exhibits on the fish of the Mid-Atlantic Ocean including Cownose rays, Lookdowns, Moray eels, and Groman, their Loggerhead sea turtle. In their Tropical Shark Touch Tanks you can get close to tropical sharks like the Whitespotted Bamboo shark and the Marbled shark. Don’t miss the Live Diver Feeding Show at 11 a.m. on the weekends.