Lehigh Valley Zoo {Is it worth the trip?}

If you have kids – then a visit (or multiple visits) to ANY zoo are absolutely necessary. Like pre-requisites to school course.

One, to give the kids something interesting to do. (Alternate translation: keep their busy minds active and occupied.)

Two, because it can be educational and very fun to show children the various “creatures” that roam the earth (besides the miscreants that you might encounter in normal everyday life).

However – not all zoos are created equal.

And going to the zoo costs a boatload of money.

It becomes a time, value, benefit conundrum.

Lehigh Valley Zoo {Is it worth the trip?}

Zoos around NJ, NY, and PA

When you think about it – there aren’t really too many zoos around. Especially central New Jersey.

The Bronx Zoo is one of the most famous. But it’s a hike and an “event” for the most part.

A decent option for Garden State residents is the Turtle Back Zoo, but that too is also odd. Feels commercial.

We promised to our kids (without thinking it through) that we’d take them to “the zoo” to see some animals. The question then became “where?” Since we had already been to West Orange recently, we decided to try something different – The Lehigh Valley Zoo.

Perhaps it’s just us – but the whole “ZOO” thing seems to have changed profoundly.

Lehigh Valley Zoo {Is it worth the trip?}

We went to Lehigh Valley Zoo recently – these are our thoughts

We like Pennsylvania. Primarily for the more “open” feel. Not sure exactly, but it generally feels more “refreshing” than NJ. I guess it’s what happens when you’ve lived your entire life in the most densely populated state in America (besides DC – which doesn’t really count.)

So we schlepped along Route 78 to the Lehigh Valley Zoo. We didn’t know what to expect, because we like discovering things the old-fashioned way. Via personal experience.

Sure, we could have read reviews, scoured websites, looked at photos, videos, and more. But what good is that? Remember, any real experience, whether good or bad – is way more important than “what you read or see” online. Why? Because it’s validated and tangible.

Lehigh Valley Zoo {Is it worth the trip?}

First impressions – not very crowded. Whatsoever.

Not many people dig zoos, so it appears.

The Lehigh Valley Zoo was, in our opinion – pretty much “dead.” On a perfect weekend day. We scored a parking spot as if we were going to the mall on Tuesday morning during a snow storm.

Was nice, actually – to not be in the middle of some kind of mayhem and people frenzy, but that has downsides as well.

That’s not saying that it was a ghost town. Plenty of people were there. All 198 of them. And it seemed that the number of workers at the booths upfront was excessive.

Lehigh Valley Zoo {Is it worth the trip?}

First eye-opening impression: KA-CHING!

We thought that being in PA, that the Lehigh Valley Zoo would be “cheap.”

Far from that.

It was almost $70 for a family of four! Their “free” kids option was a few ticks away from newborn. They said it was a “non-profit” zoo. But based on the money we spent, and the condition of the zoo, that money is profiting someone, that is for sure.

Whatever, we could have scoured the web for coupons – but entirely forgot. All good. More important that our kids had a splendid time.

Tepid zoo that Lehigh Valley… could do better

The exhibits at the zoo were, to our eyes, rather blah. The animal “activity” was minimal overall.

It appeared that the bare minimum upkeep was taking place too. Just enough to prevent it from looking totally run down.

Feeding the giraffes was the highlight of the day. $8.00 for two tiny handfuls of iceberg lettuce, and a minute or two with the tall creatures.

Yes, we know it’s a lot of work to keep a zoo going, but that was their intentions, right?

Lehigh Valley Zoo {Is it worth the trip?}

Selling stuff more important than active animals

The most active portions of the zoo involved more selling of stuff.

Gift shops, some food, and other over-priced things.

The shops had very cheaply made trinkets. Nothing truly worth it. That is kind of disappointing, but it’s an unfortunate truth in modern times in America.

Lehigh Valley Zoo {Is it worth the trip?}

Overall: One and done for Lehigh Valley Zoo

For the most part – we were glad we went to the Lehigh Valley Zoo. It was a good day with the family. Something new for kids who don’t yet have the capacity to judge and compare.

We made the best of it and had no reason to fake some photo filters to impress our less fortunate friends. (Yeah, that is what people do these days – sick!)

However, it’s likely we will not be back.

The value was just not there. Sure, it served a purpose. But it hurts us that we had to pay so much for so little. Regardless if there was some benefit. It’s like paying $30 for a cup of coffee. Yeah, I liked it, but…

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NJroute22 (site admin) is an avid traveler along NJ Route 22 (and almost all of central New Jersey!) Family man, pet lover, and property owner who has a natural curiosity for everything around.

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