5 Coolest Things About the Cape May County Zoo

The free zoo was recently named the 13th best in the world by TripAdvisor users.

toco toucan

A toco toucan at the Cape May County Park & Zoo (Photo: Dan McQuade)

Trip Advisor recently released its annual list of the best zoos in the world, based on average user ratings. The San Diego Zoo ranked first overall, unsurprisingly. Number two was Loro Parque, on the Canary Islands. Zoos from places like the United Kingdom, Singapore, Vienna and Prague were in the top 10. And 13th? The Cape May County Park & Zoo, in Cape May Court House, New Jersey.

Yes, really! The little zoo in Cape May is rated the 13th best by Trip Advisor readers. In the United States, it’s the fifth best. The Philadelphia Zoo did not rank in the top 25 in the U.S. rankings.

“On behalf of the Board of Chosen Freeholders, we are very proud of all of you,” Cape May County Board of Chosen Freeholders director Gerald Thornton actually said in a release “Really WELL DONE! You make our small County SHINE!”

With support like that, I had to check this place out. Here are the five coolest things about the Cape May County Zoo.

1. It’s free. The zoo is open 364 days a year (every day except Christmas) and does not charge admission. Check Trip Advisor and you’ll see that a large percentage of reviews are stoked that the zoo is free. Despite the lack of an entrance fee, the zoo is neat and clean, even on a crowded day. A few employees hold donation buckets in case you’re feeling generous.

2. The Pathway to Diversity. The oddly named section of the park is separated from the rest of the zoo, accessed by (and situated on) an elevated boardwalk. The section contains snow leopards, red pandas, deer, zebras and other animals — basically, it has a lot of the cute ones.

3. The setting. When you enter the Cape May County Zoo, you pass by fields and playgrounds. It seems like you’re just in any regular township or county park. The zoo has that same “in the woods” feel. It’s more shaded than any other zoo I’ve ever been to.

4. A constant stream of snow leopard cubs. Between 2010 and 2014, seven snow leopard cubs were born at the Cape May Zoo. Vijay, who sired all seven, died earlier this year. The zoo is currently finishing up a new snow leopard habitat.

5. Flamingos from Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch. This is even more amazing than the zoo being free. In 2007, the zoo received 13 Chilean flamingos from the Neverland Ranch. The King of Pop may not be with us anymore, but at least we can still see his flamingos.