G just loves animals so when we recently visited Merrill Park and Animal Haven in Woodbridge Township, New Jersey, she could hardly contain her excitement!
Now that G is 18 months old, language is exploding with every experience. Her new verbal tricks include naming animals and the sounds they make. So when I read about Merrill Park’s Animal Haven, I knew she would be thrilled to practice her animal sounds (and impressions) right along with the real animals.
Merrill Park’s Animal Haven is a very large, fenced in area with several sections of small animals. The animals seem well fed and well cared for, and the animal enclosures and the surroundings are clean and welcoming. There are ducks, chickens, and roosters roaming about along the first section of fencing followed by turkeys, pigs, pheasants, and geese. As you wrap around the enclosure further, there are more pigs, giant geese, goats, peacocks, and even a horse. The enclosure has a paved sidewalk that wraps around the entire area, making it easy to walk around with young children and/or a stroller.
The Animal Haven is perfect for young children, and G just could not get enough of the roaming, active animals. The animals were friendly and interested in us as well. Although the signs say, “Please don’t feed the animals” I have a feeling the animals are accustomed to people tossing bread crumbs through the fence.
The Animal Haven is a great smaller-scale alternative to a zoo; plus it’s absolutely free to visit the park and walk around. When we visited, it was such a beautiful day and we really took our time wandering the perimeter of the Animal Haven. We watched hysterically as the animals clucked, quacked, snorted, and whinnied and G mimicked their sounds and their movements.
Aside from the Animal Haven area, Merrill Park has a lot more to offer-like this incredible tree stump and tree nook for pictures! C’mon moms I know you’re just as excited as I am about this! How cute a location for a fall family picture! I’m definitely coming back to this spot as the leaves really start to change color. For now, I’ll be happy that I at least got G sitting still in one spot for a split second and looking at the camera. A miracle.
In addition to my great photo spot find, there are several open and reservable picnic groves, tennis courts, basketball courts, 3 playgrounds, and baseball, football, and soccer fields. G’s little legs certainly couldn’t cover the whole park, but we did make a stop at the two playgrounds near to the Animal Haven.
Visiting Merrill Park was a great way to enjoy the afternoon outdoors with our busy toddler. We will definitely be back for a picnic and fall photos!