Bengal Tigers, Bears and African Lions spotted in Ocean County Pine Barrens

Bengal Tigers, Bears and African Lions spotted in Ocean County Pine Barrens

May 21, 2009

Did you know that Ocean County’s Pine Barrens is home to lions, tigers and bears? If you thought the Pine Barrens was void of exotic wildlife, think again. In Forked River, at the edge of the Pine Barrens, you can find PopCorn Park Zoo and Sanctuary, home to hundreds of exotic and domestic animals.

If you’re looking for a place to bring toddlers and younger children and don’t feel like traveling to the Bronx Zoo, Cape May or Philadelphia? Try the Popcorn Park Zoo and Sanctuary run by the Associated Humane Societies. This small zoo in New Jersey’s Pinelands was started in 1977 as an animal sanctuary for abandoned and abused animals. They eventually began taking in exploited farm animals and exotic wildlife and now house the largest collection of animals in Ocean County.

The zoo is home to over 200 rescued animals which range from roosters to bengal tigers. As you enter the park, you can purchase a box of popcorn which you can feed to all of the animals. Many of the domestic animals such as the pigs, goats, sheep and horses eagerly await handouts from parkgoers. As you walk around the park, geese, ducks and squirrels have become so accustomed to human presence that they will usually eat out of your hands.

Some of the more exotic animals in the park include Bengali, a bengal tiger and his three bengal tiger friends, a black bear, african lions, wallabies and monkeys. You can get close enough to all of the animals for some great picture taking and some great memories without the travel.

Farm animals at Popcorn Park Zoo include horses, cows, sheep, goats and rabbits. The steer at the park is huge! If you’ve never been up close and personal with a cow that is nearly eight feet tall, you’re in for a surprise.

The best thing about Popcorn Park is that these are not show animals purchased for display like at most zoos, they are animals that have been rescued from many different situations in which they were abused, neglected or exploited. The folks at the Associated Humane Society are offering these animals a second chance at life and the money you spend goes directly towards benefiting and caring for these animals as well as the rescue and placement of future animals at the sanctuary.

Older children might be bored with the lack of “high end” exotics, but if your child has never been to a zoo, Popcorn Park Zoo and Wildlife Sanctuary is a great place to break them in and makes for a great Jersey Shore day trip.

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