Turtle Back Zoo is a great place to take the kids, and adults will have fun as well. Very easy to get to, located right off route 280 in Essex County. Huge free parking lot and the prices couldn't be cheaper. $7 for adults and $3 for children 2-12. Plus there's always a coupon in the Entertainment Book or Kids Stuff Book.
This is a small zoo but you can spend at least 2 hours there, walking around to see the animals and just enjoying the day. We saw penguins frolicking in their pond, llamas sleeping in the shade and then we went to the petting zoo. 25 cents will buy you a handful of pet food and you can feed the pigs, goats, sheeps and chickens.
At the end of our visit we took a 10 minute ride on the small train. The kids loved this, as did we. A great breeze and a ride in the shade after all the walking in the sun. Lots of fun for the whole family