Visit: Rizzo’s Wildlife World {Flanders, New Jersey}

by Cate on January 11, 2020

Fun, mostly self-guided tour of a wildlife center, let’s visit Rizzo’s Wildlife World in Flanders!

I have a running list of things to do, see, eat, and visit on my phone, that way when we find ourselves with some free time and in the mood for adventuring, I have a ready list to consult and I’m not wasting time googling when we could be having fun. And that’s how we found ourselves at Rizzo’s Wildlife World a few weeks ago. My oldest was working, but my youngest was home with me and had a friend that had slept over, so I quickly scanned my list for things that they would enjoy but that her brother wouldn’t be too upset at missing. I gave the girls a couple options to choose from, and Rizzo’s was at the top of their list.

A short twenty-five minute drive from our house, it was easy to find with a huge parking lot. Ten dollar admission per person (over age 2), and we were off to explore on our own. They happened to have started a “show” a few minutes before we got there, so we quickly grabbed a seat to watch. I don’t think they do the shows on a set schedule, it seemed to be sort of as they had enough people there to form an audience, and the girls were so enthralled that we stayed for the first one and a little bit of the next one.

Rizzo’s Wildlife

We were lucky enough that the owner was the Wildlife Educator and he is seriously hysterical, so much so that I had tears running down my face during a lot of it. He brought out different animals one by one, explained about their habits and characteristics, answered questions, and allowed the guests to touch most of them. The girls were FAR braver than I was and basically had a huge albino snake wrapped around them like it was nothing. I did TOUCH it, but I drew the line at anything else. I’ve never been a fan of snakes, and animals can pick up on your energy, so the last thing I want is a snake sensing my negative energy while it’s wrapped around my body. But the girls? They had a blast. I mean, how often do you have a snake on your lap or a lizard on your head?

Rizzo’s Wildlife

Rizzo’s Wildlife

Rizzo’s Wildlife

Rizzo’s Wildlife

Rizzo’s Wildlife

After the shows, we checked out the area that had many more smaller reptiles in aquariums, fed turtles, and quizzed the owner about adopting small turtles. They get a lot of their wildlife as rescues, and Maddie fell in love with a three-legged turtle (likely because one of our dogs has three legs). He said a lot of times they get so many animals coming their way that they have to say no and refer them elsewhere, so, of course, he now has our number should a small turtle find itself in need of a home. ;)

If you’re in the area and looking for something fun to do with your kiddos, put Rizzo’s on the list. You can spend an hour there easily, although we were there for longer, and they also do birthday parties, scouting events, and will even bring their animals to your location for a larger crowd. The place is super clean, the animals are very well cared for and loved, and they’re open six days a week.

Rizzo’s Wildlife World
1 Gold Mine Road
Flanders, NJ 07836
973-586-0444

Hungry for more things to do in New Jersey?
Visit Lambert Castle in Paterson. A well-kept secret, steeped in history, and a gorgeous property.
We loved learning all about the wolves at the Lakota Wolf Preserve.
The Cheese Cave Tour in Long Valley is one of my favorite adventure days we’ve had.
You can visit Thomas Edison’s estate, museum, and laboratory for a rich step back into his life and mind.
Head for the Jersey shore and Jenkinson’s Aquarium. It’s small, but packed with many sea creatures and knowledgeable and friendly staff.
If you have an avid rock collector or history buff in your family, visit the Sterling Hill Mining Museum.
Brookhollow’s Barnyard might have been the cutest farm we’ve ever visited.
The Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms is a great step back in time.
For even more activity ideas in the tri-state area, visit this appropriately-themed Pinterest board.

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