WEST ORANGE, NJ — Turtle Back Zoo finished 2017 with an all-time record attendance of 907,522. This is the first time that attendance eclipsed the 900,000 mark and the 13th consecutive year a new annual attendance record was 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. 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,” Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo Jr. said in a press release. “We would not be here without the continuing support of our loyal visitors, sponsors, volunteers and staff. We look forward to seeing everyone next year for even more adventures, excitement and family fun.”
Within the last six weeks of the year, Turtle Back Zoo reached three new milestones. On Friday, Nov. 17, the old attendance record was broken when the Fleming-Kendrick family from Newark — Stafon Kendrick and Melva Fleming and their children Myles Fleming and Makenzie Kendrick — became the 795,559th visitors to the zoo when they came to view the Holiday Lights Spectacular. A week later on Friday, Nov. 24, the Penn family from Middletown — Vincent and Heather Penn and their children Ashley, 7, and Britney, 5 — were recognized as the 800,000th visitors to Turtle Back. Finally, the 900,000 attendance mark was passed on Wednesday, Dec. 27, when the Owens/Kusik family from East Orange — Joseph Kusik, Alanah Williams and Ikea Owens — visited the Holiday Lights Spectacular.