Monday, September 23, 2013

Local Destination: Cohanzick Zoo

Named for a chief of the Leni Lenapi, the Cohanzick Zoo has been in operation since 1934, making it the state of New Jersey's first zoo.  Located in Bridgeton, NJ along the scenic Cohansey River, the little zoo is a perfect destination for a daytrip.  Admission to the Cohanzick Zoo is FREE all year round (closed on Christmas Day), but donations from visitors are appreciated.  Zoo hours are from 9am-5pm daily in the warmer months, and 9am-4pm during winter.

As we continued through the zoo, we enjoyed the lush woods and the beautiful flowers as well as the animals.  It was rather like walking through an arboretum and suddenly discovering a very friendly (though thankfully caged) Asiatic Black Bear.  A few other animals that hit our favorites list was the pair of Servals, the Wallaby, the Puma, the New Guinea Singing Dogs, and the White-Nosed Coatis.

During the summer months between Memorial Day and Labor Day (and warm weekends during the school year), visitors can also also enjoy the new Bridgeton Splash Park located directly across the parking lot from the zoo.  Open daily from 10am-5pm, the Splash Park offers three 2-hour sessions at only $2 per person per session.  Group rates can be purchased in advance and the Splash Park is available Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings in season for private parties.  We also encourage you to hit the trail along the Cohansey River and take in the rest of the beautiful park

We had a great chats with the zookeepers, and we were able to find out a lot of information about the different animals and the zoo itself.  Although there are not a lot of posted facts about the animals, you can ask any of the small staff about any of the animals, and they will be able to tell you everything that you want to know.  That day, Daily Vacationer met two members of the staff and the things they were able to share with us were amazing.
Because the Cohanzick Zoo is a FREE admission zoo, they encourage their visitors to support the zoo in various way.  There are donation boxes set up throughout the zoo, plus guests can become members of the Cohanzick Zoological Society and receive member benefits.  Visitors can also "adopt" a zoo animal annually with a donation that helps to cover the total care of an animal in the zoo for a whole year.

We also highly recommend the Cohanzick Zoo for parents of children who are newer walkers/runners as the zoo is a fairly quiet and enclosed place for them to practice going around on their own.  It is also a low-key, fun place to visit if you are someone or the parent of someone with sensory issues.  The entire zoo is handicapped accessible with a (slightly bumpy in some places) paved trail and wooden ramps that are wide enough for the biggest of wheelchairs or strollers. 
During the year the Cohanzick Zoo and City of Bridgeton also host various events and celebrations: Kidsfest in May, Boo at the Zoo in October, and the Festival of Lights in Decemeber.  During July every year, kids can enroll in Zoo Camp.
So come for a visit to the Cohanzick Zoo for one of their events or just for a regular daytrip.  If you live in the Greater Philadelphia area, it should definitely be on your list of local places to visit!


Bridgeton Splash Park


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