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Family Fun in New Jersey: Bergen County Zoological Park

Back at the beginning of February while spending time near New York City, my kids and I drove across the Hudson River to visit the Bergen County Zoological Park in Paramus, New Jersey. The zoo opened in 1960 and is open all year. From May to October, the zoo charges an entry fee. However, from November to April, the zoo is open for free, which I was pleasantly surprised to discover! The Bergen County Zoo is an accredited member of The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

Bergen County Zoological Park Education & Discovery Center at the Bergen County Zoological Park

Cow at the Bergen County Zoological Park Sheep at the Bergen County Zoological Park

When my kids and I first arrived at the Bergen County Zoological Park, we stopped in the Education & Discovery Center to see a few reptiles and amphibians. We then headed over to the farm animals. Both my kids liked looking at the cows and horses. We all got a kick out of watching the sheep because one was scratching its head by rubbing up against the edge of the barn door. My daughter said that the sheep was going crazy! I explained that sheep do not have hands and have to rub up against things to scratch itches.

Horse at the Bergen County Zoological Park Walkways at the Bergen County Zoological Park

Mountain Lion at the Bergen County Zoological Park 1 Mountain Lion at the Bergen County Zoological Park 2

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Despite the snow from the previous weekend, the walking paths at the Bergen County Zoological Park were nicely cleared. Because of the winter weather, some of the warmer climate animals were not on exhibit outside, but my kids and I still got to see quite a few awesome creatures. All three of us enjoyed watching the mountain lion. Hearing the mountain lion chirp and yowl was especially exciting to witness. I even learned that mountain lions cannot roar, unlike other big cats, but instead hiss, growl, purr, yowl, and scream.

Tapirs at the Bergen County Zoological Park Vulture at the Bergen County Zoological Park

Prairie Dogs at the Bergen County Zoological Park Elk and Bison at the Bergen County Zoological Park

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In addition to the mountain lion, I also really enjoyed watching the tapirs play in the snow. I had no idea that the odd-toed ungulates that frequently live in dryland forests would also enjoy the snow! My son liked watching the spider monkeys climb around their outdoor enclosure as well as the prairie dogs popping in and out of their tunnels. I finally liked observing the bison and elk in a huge enclosure at one end of the zoo. Our winter afternoon at the Bergen County Zoological Park was definitely worth the trip from the New York side of the Hudson River, and I highly recommend visiting the zoo if you are ever in the Paramus area of New Jersey.

For more information, visit the Bergen County Zoo website.

Image Credits

Bergen County Zoological Park © 2016 Heather Johnson
Education & Discovery Center at the Bergen County Zoological Park © 2016 Heather Johnson
Cow at the Bergen County Zoological Park © 2016 Heather Johnson
Sheep at the Bergen County Zoological Park © 2016 Heather Johnson
Horse at the Bergen County Zoological Park © 2016 Heather Johnson
Walkways at the Bergen County Zoological Park © 2016 Heather Johnson
Mountain Lion at the Bergen County Zoological Park 1 © 2016 Heather Johnson
Mountain Lion at the Bergen County Zoological Park 2 © 2016 Heather Johnson
Tapirs at the Bergen County Zoological Park © 2016 Heather Johnson
Vulture at the Bergen County Zoological Park © 2016 Heather Johnson
Prairie Dogs at the Bergen County Zoological Park © 2016 Heather Johnson
Elk and Bison at the Bergen County Zoological Park © 2016 Heather Johnson

Written by Heather Johnson

Heather is a writer, librarian, linguist, wife, and mother who loves her husband, children, dogs, and cats. She has a bachelor's degree in English with a minor in creative writing and master's degrees in library and information science and English studies with a concentration in linguistics.

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