Brooklyn and I typically head to NJ to run errands after her gymnastics class on Tuesdays. But yesterday our errand run turned into much more. We decided to visit Van Saun County Park. Van Saun is a sweet little park in Bergen, NJ, just 20 minutes from NYC. We’ve visited this park a several times and wanted to go before some of it’s features close up for the winter. Yesterday we were treated like royalty by the weather gods, the day could not have been nicer.
We arrived around 10:30, parked at the stables and began our visit with a pony ride (1 lap $2 or 3 laps for $5). Brooklyn is still thrilled by pony rides, but this is quite a small path, so the 3 laps were completed in about 10 minutes. She didn’t mind as we had a lot more to see. Altho I imagine she’ll probably out grow this within the next year or so. The pony rides run from April through October. They are currently operated by Ironside Farms, 201-835-0932.
Next we walked over to the miniature train and rode around the perimeter of the Bergen Zoo (which is also located in Van Saun Park). The train is $1.50 per person and takes about 15 minutes. Along the ride we enjoyed beautiful scenic views, saw old tractors on display and were able to get a peek at some of the animals from the zoo. The train operates (weather permitting) May through October 31, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, closed Mondays.
After the train we decided to visit the Bergen County Zoo (right next to train depot). We visited the zoo a couple summers ago on a 100 degree day. With a tired and hot toddler in tow, it was not an enjoyable experience. But we decided to give it a try again and I’m so glad we did. This zoo feels more like you’re on a movie set than in a zoo. It’s perfectly manicured with gorgeous barns, bridges and farm animals but also has bald eagles, monkeys, bison and an ocelot. It’s a small zoo and the perfect size for young children. The zoo is open daily, 10:00 am until 4:30 pm. Adults (15-61) $4, resident $8, non-resident; Child (3-14) $2, resident $5, non-resident; under 3 free.
They are also hosting a ZooBoo event for Halloween which looks like a lot of fun.
After the zoo we bought tickets for the Millennium Carousel, also within walking distance. This is an exquisite carousel, I had a hard time picking which animal I wanted to ride. Tickets for this are $1.50 per person, operates May through October 31, daily 10:00 am to 5:00, Tuesdays opens at noon.
Lastly we walked over to the brand new Harmony Playground. This is an expansive playground with many different age specific play areas, swings and a water feature open during the summer.
After spinning ourselves into oblivion we headed back to the pony stables and to our car. It was a lovely day. I can’t think of another place where you can experience so many activities for such a low price. I’m looking forward to spending a day here again, hopefully before they close up a lot of the activities for the winter.