Zoo at Home, Zoo Abroad: Popcorn Park Zoo

I had distinct memories of The Popcorn Park Zoo from my childhood. I remember a range of animals from exotics, to farm animals, to wild creatures; Lions, lizards, deer. But mostly I remember them being rescued. I remember deer who had been saved from traps, aging lions saved from zoos, snakes rescued from small cages. In my mind it was all very dramatic.

I had been telling my husband and neighbors who have children about it ever since we moved back to NJ. Just after Summer, I got to go with my friends. 


It was not as dramatic as I remembered, not as tragic as I had pitched it. But the rescued animals were still there, with stories of where they had come from and how their lives had changed since coming to the Popcorn Zoo. 

Nestled in the Pine Barrens, this zoo isn't huge but it does have some interesting and exciting animals.  It is considered one of the largest shelters of it's kind. 

As the name might suggest, one of the main attractions here is the popcorn you can buy to feed the animals with. Some like it more than others, so our popcorn mostly went to deer, pigs, goats and ducks. It was very nice to see bears, lions and other big cats, and a steer that is, no lie, around 7 feet tall, even if they weren't craving popcorn.  

I thoroughly enjoyed revisiting the Popcorn Park Zoo again and would recommend it for zoo lovers in the NJ area. I really like that this zoo isn't price prohibitive and the proceeds go towards maintaining the zoo and it's animals. 

What are your favorite local zoos?

Zoo at Home, Zoo Abroad: Prospect Park Zoo

It's hard to believe that in all the time I've been writing about Zoos at Home, Zoos Abroad, I haven't made an entry for one of our all time favorite zoos. The Prospect Park Zoo was our "home" zoo for many years and we visited it often. These photos were taken during our last visit which was back in August 2015. 

In the heart of Brooklyn's biggest park, this zoo is a magical little slice of zoo with wild creatures and a little petting farm. It has also become a sanctuary for the areas birds and bugs within the city. 

The Prospect Park Zoo packs a lot of wild and exotic animals into its small foot print. Some of my favorites are field mice, Pallas cats, red pandas, otters, mongooses, peacocks, and more!

The petting farm has chickens, pigs, sheep, etc... It's a nice connection of people and animals. 


There are several buildings that contain the wild creatures, connected by meandering trails that make you feel like walking in an animal, bug, and flora filled wonderland. There's a aviary, duck ponds, a sea lion pool to walk through and around. 

The Prospect Park Zoo is truly a Brooklyn treasure and I highly suggest anyone in the area to visit it. 

Zoo at Home, Zoo Abroad: Atlantic Farms

When we lived in Brooklyn, we went to the Prospect Park Zoo pretty often. It was our local zoo and a great zoo, too. Since we moved, we've been looking for a new local zoo. 

We love the Cape May County Zoo, but it's a little far for us to visit whenever we want. So we were happy to find the Atlantic Farms petting farm this Summer. 

We stumbled upon this little farm stand and it's petting zoo by accident but it's become one of our favorite places to visit! It's entry fee is very reasonable, which is rare. 

At the farms, there are many sheep and goats, as well as cows, pigs, llamas and alpacas, donkeys and ponies, lots of chickens, turkeys and ducks. There's even some emus! 


The best part is the snacks you can buy to feed the animals are just carrot chips from the farm. Good for the animals, and so fun to feed them!

We're happy to have found this spot that's only a 20 minute trip from our house. If you're Down the Shore, I suggest a visit!

Zoo at Home, Zoo Abroad: Cape May County Zoo

One zoo we enjoy is the Cape May County Zoo. We visited in May of 2015 and had visited about a year earlier. We're eager to visit again, but are waiting for warmer weather.


This is a strange zoo in my opinion. It's weirdly out of time and even a little slipshod looking. The cages are seemly little more than chain-link fences, and the inside enclosures are painted with trippy old murals or so spartan to seem as if they are abandoned. The zoo is nestled in a large wooded park, and the whole thing seems rather... unprofessional in some way. This could all be due to the amazing fact that this zoo is completely free and is run by donation. 

But once you start to look around, you see that the rangers are very caring, and the spaces are big, spacious, and well maintained despite looking outdated.


The Cape May County Zoo has some really incredible animals! Giraffes, buffalo, tiger, cheetahs, zebras are all kept in large outdoor pens, most of which have pedestrian walkways over head and slightly away from the habitats. A safe enough distance, so no one can throw anything at or harm the creatures, but so that one gets a good view of the animals roaming around. 

The Cape May zoo has some focus on local animals and habitats which is pretty neat. The last time we were there they were working on a few new areas, including some new ocelot pens. We're excited to go back to have a look soon. 

Another thing we like about this zoo is that they have a petting zoo! They also have chickens and peacocks who wonder around freely. We really enjoy the interactive nature of this zoo. 


In the end, I really care about this zoo. Having gone there a few times now, any misgivings I had have been alleviated. I also really appreciate that the zoo is free, open to the public, and fun for all ages! I highly recommend checking this one out if in the area. 

Zoo at home, zoo abroad: Nashville Zoo

Some people think it's odd, but I'm a huge fan of zoos. Where ever I go, I try to see a zoo, aquarium, nature museum, bug exhibit, farm, petting zoo, etc...  A visit is always in any trip I plan. Or several if there's time. I know many have mixed feelings on seeing animals caged, and I do as well. I try to focus on the conservational and educational aspects of these establishments.  I can't help but be amazed and delighted by seeing strange, interesting, and exotic creatures. 

While we were in Tennessee in December 2013 we went to the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere. I never posted about it way back then, but I've been thinking about that trip recently and thought it was time to share. 

The Nashville Zoo is vastly different from our little zoo at home in Prospect Park. It sits on a huge piece of land with bamboo paths winding throughout. Most of the exhibits are outdoors. We went in the dead of Winter, so many of the animals were not on view. We even managed to go quite late in the day and miss some of the ones that were out. Even with our poor timing we got to see some great animals.

Tigers!! Wow!

Tigers!! Wow!

The Nashville Zoo has both a white tiger and an orange one! These were incredible to see, but it was very clear that these great beasts are not supposed to be caged. 

This zoo had so many large and wild cats! Perfect for cat lovers like ourselves! 

This zoo had so many large and wild cats! Perfect for cat lovers like ourselves! 

Despite the cold, the animals were very active! We got to see many close up, only a few feet away. Like a cougar drinking from the "stream".

This leopard seemed to be observing us as much as we were him. 

This leopard seemed to be observing us as much as we were him. 

As everything we visited in Nashville on that trip, the Zoo was deserted. It was great!! We had the whole place to ourselves. With no one else checking out each habitat, the animals really seemed to take notice of us. But I also suspect they knew it was closing/feeding time. 

These goats were all lined up, waiting to go inside for the night. 

These goats were all lined up, waiting to go inside for the night. 

Overall, it was a wonderful trip, and I can't wait to go back in the Spring or Summer!  It will be wonderful to see more animals, even if that means more people, too. 

We try to get to zoos pretty often so I hope to make my animal observations a semi regular post. I could write 10 posts about our local zoo alone! Do you have a favorite zoo or aquarium? Have you been to the Nashville Zoo? Care to comment?