Popcorn Park Animal Refuge
A Refuge for Animals in Need
Popcorn Park is a sanctuary for animals who faced desperate circumstances and/or death. Popcorn Park began in 1977 when we rescued and treated a raccoon caught in a leg-hold trap. We gave him a home for life as he could never be released and survive.
Soon Popcorn Park became a permanent home to exotics, wildlife, farm animals, and birds who suffered abandonment, cruelty, injury, illness, handicap, exploitation, old age, inappropriate ownership, or who could not be safely returned to the wild.
Popcorn Park Refuge, located in the scenic Pine Barrens of Ocean County, is now home to over 200 animals and birds, all provided spacious living quarters and assured a lifetime of good care. All residents may be sponsored through the Wildlife Club and/or you can support the refuge through the Popcorn Park Zoological Society.
About The Animals
Exotic Animals are generally considered those who are not native to one’s own country, and Popcorn Park has plenty of these!! We are currently home to four Bengal tigers, all from Texas. Two had been purchased with the thought to use them in a canned hunt, and the other two were neglected and starved in sanctuaries that didn’t have the funds to care for them. We are also home to Muntjacks, a Bactrian camel, a Lechwe, Caimen, Pythons, several types of monkeys, tortoises, Wallabies, and most recently a Civet cat. Some of these exotic animals were being kept illegally as “pets”, but others we rescued from faclities that were closing or no longer wanted animals, research, the exotic animal trade, a travelling circus and more.
Wildlife consist of those animals who are native to one’s own country, and Popcorn Park Zoo provides spacious arrangements to many animals that would normally live in the wild in North America, but whose abilities were somehow compromised. Any wildlife that comes to Popcorn Park and which can be released is returned to its natural habitat. BooBoo, the American black bear, is just one example of a magnificent American animal, whose existence was trivialized by her being used as a partial payment for a used car in Iowa. The dealership hoped to use her as a selling attraction, but soon found they were unable to handle a bear. Scenarios such as these are how much of our wildlife came to us. Our American wildlife includes BooBoo, seven cougars, bobcats, a raccoon, turtles, a coatimundi, white-tailed and fallow deer, and many native birds, which are detailed in the `Birds’ category.
Farm animals are often the gentlest of animals, though we have several who have quite a sense of themselves! Quite a few of our residents have been saved from, or escaped from, slaughter; others were once `pets’ or `projects’ that were later unwanted. Still others, such as Trudy and Seven, were rescued from starvation; some ran the streets as `strays’, and others were brought to us because they were babies that couldn’t stand or had been unwanted `gifts’. The reasons why we have the variety of animals we do is as diverse as the species themselves! Among our farm animals are sheep, horses, a donkey, goats, rabbits, several steer, and pigs. Many of our resident birds may be categorized as farm `animals’ , but we’ve included them in their own category.
This is a very broad category, as we have birds that fit every description – exotics, wildlife and domestic birds which include those typically found on farms. Included here are also those birds, which while technically exotic, are kept as pets. Among our birds are emus, rheas, geese of all types from all countries, exotic and domestic ducks, chickens, roosters, turkey vultures, pigeons, wild turkeys, peacocks and peahens, and macaws, amazons, cockatiels and more. Once again, how they came to be here covers a wide variety of reasons – some were pets, some were going to be dinner, some were injured and are flightless, some purchased as “ornamentals”, but found to be unsuitable, some were “gifts” and so on. The list why birds and animals came to be here is almost endless; the reasons why they were originally obtained was often simple thoughtlessness.
Make an Impact
Every donation makes a difference!
Address and Hours
Please follow all social distancing guidelines.
Hours: 11 to 5 daily
Admission into the Park stops at 4:15 pm.
Holidays 11 to 2pm
- Adults – $8.00, tax included
- Seniors 62+ $5.00
- Children 3 to 11 $ 5.00 (children under 3 are free)
- Schools or other groups – $4.00 per person, includes tax
- Free with Wildlife Club, Share-A-Pet or Zoological Society membership card
- Members of our military – Free
Group Reservations and Tours: Click Here
Refreshments: Cold drinks, ice cream, popcorn and peanuts available-NO OUTSIDE FOOD IN PARK.
Facilities: Picnic area
Pets: Not allowed in Zoo for safety reasons
Wheelchair Accessibility: The sandy terrain of Popcorn Park Refuge is not conducive to standard handicap wheelchairs or strollers. Upon request, a beach terrain wheelchair is available.
Feeding of animals: Feeding of animals in the Park is not allowed due to the animals requiring specialized diets; however, air-popped popcorn and peanuts may be purchased to feed free roaming birds and some of the farm animals.
- GARDEN STATE PARKWAY: From the Garden State Parkway North or South, take Exit 74 and turn West (left) onto Lacey Road. Travel 6.7 miles. Sign for Popcorn Park is on the left; turn right into Humane Way.
- FROM TRENTON: Take 206 South to 195 East and then take 195 East to Exit 8 – bear right onto 539/524. Follow that road to High St./539 South (make left); take that to 530. Bear left and go about 3 miles to Lacey Road. Make a right, then go about 5 miles — sign for Popcorn Park is on right; turn left into Park driveway (Humane Way).
- FROM NJ TURNPIKE(NORTH JERSEY) Take turnpike to Exit 11 (Garden State Parkway) then follow GSP directions.
- FROM DELAWARE MEMORIAL BRIDGE: Take Route 295 North to Route 70 East. Take Route 70 East approximately 25 miles to the intersection of Route 539. Make right on 539 to Route 530 at which you’ll bear left. Go about 3 miles to intersection of Lacey Rd. Make right on Lacey Rd. and continue about 5 miles until you see sign for Zoo on righthand side and make left into Humane Way.
- FROM PENNSYLVANIA TURNPIKE: Take Pennsylvania Turnpike to New Jersey Turnpike North to Exit 7A. Take I-95 East to Exit 16. Take Route 539 South to Route 530 and bear left. Take 530 to Lacey Rd and make a right. Continue on Lacey Rd about 5 miles until you come to Popcorn Park sign on right hand side. Make left onto Humane Way.
- FROM HOLLAND\LINCOLN TUNNEL: Take Route I-9 to Garden State Parkway in Woodbridge and follow GSP instructions.
Do you accept donations?
Yes! We are always accepting donations. Monetary donations can be made online or in person by visiting one of our locations. Donations of blankets, towels, sheets, linens, and toys can be made any day of the week between 9am and 5pm.
Can strollers be used on premise?
Yes, you can use strollers on premise. Be mindful that the pathways are unpaved and a bit bumpy in some areas.
Is your facility wheelchair accessible?
Although our grounds are unpaved, we are wheelchair friendly. Due to the sandy soil, we have one beach wheelchair available.
What animals can we feed popcorn/peanuts to?
Air-popped popcorn and peanuts may be purchased to feed free roaming birds and some of the farm animals. Feeding any other animals in the Park is not permitted due to the animals requiring specialized diets
Do you offer any one-on-one interactive experiences?
All of our animals are rescues from less than ideal situations. We do not allow any one-on-one time outside of feeding the designated animals through the Park.