BLOOMFIELD, NJ — On Wednesday, Dec. 21, the Vickers family from Bloomfield was the 755,240th visitors to Essex County Turtle Back Zoo during 2016. This breaks the annual attendance record set last year and is the 12th consecutive year that a new annual attendance record as been established.
“We have made tremendous improvements to Turtle Back Zoo and the large turnout of visitors each year shows how popular our zoo has become,” said Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo Jr. “Introducing new natural habitat exhibits like the African Adventure featuring giraffes, along with our carousel, Treetop Adventure Course, miniGOLF Safari and train ride attractions, make coming to Turtle Back Zoo a fun, learning adventure for children and families. We would not be here without the continuing support of our loyal visitors, sponsors, volunteers and staff.”
Shortly before 6:30 p.m., Larisa Vickers, her two daughters, Sophia, 2½ years, and Christina, 9 months, and her mother, Nadya Ziboreva, arrived to view the Essex County Holiday Lights Spectacular and helped Turtle Back Zoo reach a new attendance milestone.
“We come to the zoo a few times a year. My children are still young and the zoo is the right size for them,” Larisa said. “We came to enjoy the Holiday Lights, but this is an amazing surprise.”
In recognition of the milestone, DiVincenzo presented the Vickers family with a gift basket filled with toys, stuffed animals and merchandise from Turtle Back Zoo, along with a one-year membership to the Essex County Zoological Society.
The previous attendance record was 755,239 set last year. A new annual attendance record has been set every year since 2005. The 500,000 milestone was first reached in 2010, 600,000 was first reached in 2013 and 700,000 was first reached in 2015.