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Lions, Tigers and a Caring Heart Greet Visitors at Re-Opened Popcorn Park

It's an animal refuge and it's a zoo. It's an attraction where you can discover lions, tigers and bears. It's an attraction where you can see a horse, a cow, goats pigs and more peacocks than you can count on all your digits.

No matter how you see Popcorn Park is a unique place to appreciate the kindness (and occasional neglect) of the human race toward animals. Established in 1977 by the Associated Humane Socities, Popcorn Park is a sanctuary for animals who faced desperate circumstances and/or death. It's 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. Today there are more than 200 animals and birds of all size, stripe and color.

While the description of the animals arrivals can sound dire, visitors will quickly warm up to the animals as they learn their stories and understand how they are now thriving in the Pine Barrens of Ocean County. There's Kya, the white tiger, blind in both eyes, but able to easily navigate her enclosure. There's Maximus the Tortoise, at 320 pounds, the largest of four Aldabra tortoises which were being kept illegally by a Highlands, NJ resident. And there's Gandalf, the leader of four baboons who belonged to an elderly, terminally ill man who could no longer care for them

All animals and birds can be sponsored through the Wildlife Club and/or through the Popcorn Park Zoological Society.

Popcorn Park is open daily from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. with early closings on holidays. Admission into the park stops at 4:15 pm. A small admission fee helps support the animals.

Get more tips and info about Jersey Shore for animal lovers, plus attractions, historic sites, entertainment, sports and shopping with the new book, 100 Things to Do at the Jersey Shore available for purchase here. The book is also available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Target and local bookstores.

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