Thursday, April 30, 2015

A Review of the Lehigh Valley Zoo - Let's Go!

If you love visiting New Jersey zoos, like Turtle Back Zoo, Popcorn Park and Bergen County Zoo, you might enjoy taking a short trip across the border to the Lehigh Valley Zoo in Schnecksville, Pennsylvania, just outside of Allentown.



Where is Lehigh Valley Zoo?

Located off of Rt. 78 from New Jersey (and Rt 100 in Pennsylvania), this zoo might be a bit of a hike depending upon what area of Jersey you are from (Hunterdon county folks might not mind the trek, whereas those in Northern NJ might find the distance trying with kids!).  Check out their map and directions to determine its distance from where you are.



How Much Will it Cost Me?

The zoo is open year round and their admission prices change depending upon when you visit.  Children under 2 are always free, and regular ticket prices vary between $8 - $13 based on season (as of the publication date of this entry).  They also offer senior discounts and group discount rates, too.  Parking is free.  Woot!

Prairie dogs!!

What Will I See There?

According to their website, The Lehigh Valley Zoo has "approximately 300 animals representing 104 different species."  They list them all on their website, and some of them are quite different than what you'd find at New Jersey's Turtle Back Zoo.  What does Lehigh have that Turtle Back doesn't?  Let's see, just to name a few, there were zebras...


Camels...

"That camel was THIS big, momma!"
A Kookaburra!!!  (I am a huge 'bird nerd' and was so excited to see this Australian native here!!).  The Kookaburra makes such an amazing sound.  I stood there for ten minutes, waiting for him to 'laugh,' but he never did.  Oh well, I still love ya, guy!

"Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree..."

What's Special About the Lehigh Valley Zoo?

One of the best things about the Lehigh Valley Zoo (in my humble opinion) is the natural setting and the ability to get fairly close to the animals for viewing.  I especially liked the little walk-through area to see the wallabies up close.


And this emu looks so inquisitive, but we kept our hands clear just in case (remind me to tell you about the time we saw a boy get nipped by an emu on a preschool farm field trip...)


The penguins looked like little boys in tuxedos...



Okay, so I zoomed in with my camera. Maybe you can't get quite as close to these animals as these photos let on, but it's still pretty close.

What Else Can I Do at The Lehigh Valley Zoo?

So glad you asked!  There are some cute stops in between the animal viewing.  There's a fun little playground...


A bird feeding and walk-through area (swans, ducks and waterfowl feeding area as well as an exotic bird area walk-through)...


There is a petting zoo/barnyard feeding area, but the Jersey Momma's Boy thought these goats were a little too friendly.  Ha!


There are paddleboat rides (but call ahead for availability, because we went during the week and the paddleboat rides were closed)

And there was even a horse-pulled wagon ride, too (although I can't find anything about this on their website so I'm not sure if it's still available).

There is a cute garden area with 'insect friendly' areas and a 'pizza garden' with different herbs to view.

You can crawl inside an empty 'wolf den' (of course the Jersey Grandmomma had to climb in there, too!)

Watch your head, Jersey Grandmomma!

Where Can I Eat at The Lehigh Valley Zoo?

They actually had a good selection of food here, or you were welcome to bring your own food and picnic at any of their benches or picnic tables.  They had plenty of snack bars, ice cream and drinks to buy along the way.  Prices were reasonable.  My one complaint about their website is that it tells you nothing about their food and what they offer, or if the food stands are open year round.

Other Jersey Momma Tips

*Like most zoos, there is a lot of walking.  So bring the strollers if you need them (or you can rent them at the entrance) and a good pair of walking shoes.  Paths are well paved and open.  There are some up and down hilly areas to traverse, but nothing overly steep or tiring.  There are shady spots and sunny spots, so if you're going in warmer weather, you can find some areas of relief (and plenty of places to sit down).

*There are two souvenir shops- they are small but they offer a cute variety of things.

*The zoo has plenty of family friendly events during the year, so be sure to check their website or Facebook page to help plan your visit.

*There are restrooms located throughout the zoo and they have baby changing areas, too.  Not the most sparkling, newest bathrooms you will ever see, but they were clean enough!

*Bring your camera!  Do I even need to tell you that?


3 comments:

  1. Great photos. We used to have a little zoo here, but it closed down. Great price to get into yours too.

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  2. What a great review! Your photos are amazing. Is the exotic bird a Lorikeet?

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  3. Thanks, Mary! And yes, Alicia, good eye! It was a lorikeet.

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