SWAINTON -- A great way to spend a quiet winter day is with a visit to the Cape May County Zoo. Just a few years ago, the Cape May County Zoo was often referred to as “the best-kept secret in Cape May County.” That phrase is no longer true. The county’s free zoo is not only a popular destination for residents but visitors as well and is now one of the area’s top attractions.
Freeholder Director Daniel Beyel said, “Especially in these difficult economic times, the Cape May County Park and Zoo is a great value and this time of year it is a wonderful place to experience the quiet wonders of winter!”
The 85-acre zoo is located inside the Cape May County Park Central on Route 9, exit 11 off the Garden State Parkway, one mile north of Cape May Court House. The zoo is open 364 days a year, weather permitting. During the winter, the zoo is open from 10 a.m. until 3:45 p.m.
The Cape May County Zoo, home to over 500 animals representing 250 species, has an African Savanna that is home to zebras, giraffes, ostriches and more. An aviary, “The World of Birds,” has over 20 different species, lush vegetation and a cascading waterfall and boardwalk. The reptile house has exhibits of exotic reptiles and amphibians from the far reaches of the world.
In 2010, the zoo welcomed a number of new animals as well as opened or improved exhibits and habitats. The Bald Eagle Habitat at the Cape May County Zoo, dedicated to veterans, re-opened to the public on June 3, 2010.
The popular Bald Eagle Habitat, destroyed during the February snowstorms, was rebuilt with donations from the public.
The Habitat reflects that of a South Jersey marsh with a mural and landscape to match. There is a flowing stream water feature in the center with landscaping and a new holding area for the eagles.
The Cape May County Zoo Society donated a large bronze sculpture of a flying eagle on a granite base for the Veterans’ Memorial which is part of the new exhibit.
The zoo welcomed a new baby Ring-Tailed Lemur that was born on May 5 to mom “Lily” and dad “Sal”. With the new baby there are now a total of six Lemurs at the zoo.
A Domestic Goat – the new kid at the zoo, “Domino”, was born on April 23rd to mom “Checkers” and dad “Bananas”. She is a Toggenburg/Fainting X goat and resides with other farm animals in the barnyard area of the zoo.
A new Muntjac “Kirby” joined the gang at the zoo. Kirby transferred to the Cape May County Zoo from Riverside Zoo in Scottsbluff, Nebraska for breeding purposes.
The Zoo welcomed two male Cheetahs in May. Three-year old brothers “Amiri” and “Tumai” transferred to the Cape May County Zoo from a Wildlife Safari in Winston, Oregon.
The Zoo’s Bison population tripled on June 23rd with the arrival of a male and a female Bison.
The young Bull “Henry” and Cow American Bison “Henrietta” were donated by Six Flags Great Adventure of New Jersey. The two-year olds now reside with our resident Cow Bison “Toby” and our Cow Elk “Emmie” in the Bison Yard.
The Zoo family is very excited about the birth of two very rare Snow Leopards. The zoo welcomed the two male cubs – “Sabu”, Tibetan for snow leopard and “Kaba”, Tibetan for snow, on May 10, 2010. They are the first Snow Leopard cubs ever born at the Cape May County Zoo. With the two new cubs, the Cape May County Zoo is now home to four Snow Leopards. Since the Snow Leopard Exhibit was destroyed during the February 2010 snowstorms; the County plans to build a new exhibit with the support of the Cape May County Zoo Society.
Mark your calendar for “Easter Bunny in the Park”; a popular free event hosted by the Board of Chosen Freeholders that will take place on Saturday, April 16, 2011. For more information about the Cape May County Park Zoo call 465-5271 or visit capemaycountygov.net.