BACKGROUND: This is one of the best bargains in southern New Jersey. Just because admission to the Cape May County Park and Zoo is free doesn't mean that it's not a top-quality attraction.

The zoo features lions, tigers and bears among the 550 animals and 200 species that call its 85-wooded acres home.

Highlights include the African Savanna, Reptile House and tropical aviary house. There's a Safari Cafe as well as a picnic area - if you want to pack your own lunch. Once the family has seen all the animals, there's a park and playground as well as a gift shop.

INSIDER INFO: You can easily spend the day here and the zoo is stroller- and young-kid friendly, with wide paths and plenty of bathrooms and benches to relax.

WHERE: The zoo is located along Route 9 in Cape May Court House.,-95.677068&sspn=33.847644,47.8125&ie=UTF8&hq=CAPE+MAY+COUNTY+PARK+AND+ZOO&hnear=Cape+May+Court+House,+NJ&ll=39.114479,-74.810886&spn=0.0614,0.093384&z=13&iwloc=A" target="_blank">CLICK HERE FOR DIRECTIONS.

HOURS AND COST: The zoo is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. The park is open 9 a.m. to dusk. Call 609-465-5271.