Merrill Park & Animal Haven, NJ, is a suburban public park that is home to an array of unique wildlife. A small zoo operates within the confines of Merrill Park & Animal Haven, containing a wide variety of exotic animals native to Asia and Africa.
The history of Merrill Park & Animal Haven dates back to the late 19th century, when the land was first designated as green space for residents of New Jersey. The first animals were brought to Merrill Park in 1942, with the inaugural exhibit housing a black bear cub. Since then, over 150 other animals have called Merrill Park & Animal Haven their home.
Today, the collection at Merrill Park & Animal Haven includes mammals, reptiles, birds, and invertebrates. Among the most popular are the Asiatic lions kept in an exhibit featuring a replica of their ancestral home. Notable plant species include the Indian banyan tree planted by Mahatma Gandhi during his visit to New Jersey in 1937.
The highlight of the animal experience at Merrill Park & Animal Haven is definitely their two Bengal tigers. A mother tiger named Rani has birthed four cubs in the last year alone, and her children are currently on display at the zoo. While the tigers are definitely the main attraction, there are many other animals to see as well.
The animal play area also includes a small group of monkeys that jump around in their safe, netted enclosure. If you’re looking to escape for some peace and quiet, Merrill Park & Animal Haven has just what you need. Situated along the edge of a small lake, you can relax and enjoy hours of serenity.
A number of indigenous bird species can be found at Merrill Park & Animal Haven, including the red-crowned crane from Japan. If you’re looking to take your animal experience up a notch, consider checking out one of the group tours offered every weekend. These guided trips offer visitors an opportunity to get up close and personal with the animals of Merrill Park & Animal Haven while learning about their unique biology and history.
The park also features an elevated boardwalk that gives visitors an up-close look at some of the local wildlife. Be on the lookout for ducks, herons, deer, and even alligators! Merrill Park & Animal Haven really does have something for everyone.
The park is open daily with free admission. The zoo has limited hours during the week, but keepers are on hand to answer any questions you may have about the wild residents of Merrill Park & Animal Haven, NJ.