It is a very happy holiday for the Turtle Back Zoo's mascot. The beloved turtle was on hand Friday to accept a $250,000 check from Investors Bank. The donation, said Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo, will fund a new state-of-the-art children's play area on the grounds of the zoo. The playground, which will be completed in 2013, will be named for Investors Bank.
"I extend my sincere thanks to Investors Bank and the Investors Foundation for their generous support of the Turtle Bank Zoo," said DiVincenzo, accepting the donation. Investors Bank President and CEO Kevin Cummings said that the donation is in keeping with Investors' core values. "The Turtle Back Zoo is a crown jewel of Essex County, which is home to our headquarters and more than 780,000 residents," said Cummings. "We applaud the continuing efforts of the County and Zoological Society to provide education and enrichment to children and families throughout the region."
Dr. Jeremy Goodman, Zoo Director, added his thanks. "We are grateful and appreciative," he said.
Goodman joined DiVincenzo in offering guests a look at the playground site and a sneak peek at the sea lion building. Sting rays, he noted, will be in a safe "touch tank," where patrons can see creatures at close range.
The new playground will not replace the play area adjacent to the picnic pavilion, but will add to the Zoo facilities. The area dedicated the the playground is within the Zoo, but currently unused.