October in West Orange kicked off with a bang as Turtle Back Zoo hosted the Ales ‘N Tails Oktoberfest, where guests were able to wander around the zoo while sampling top beers and quality German food. The park kept its doors open late on October 1 as patrons piled in for the spectacular event.

At the door, attendees were given their own souvenir sampling glass and a bottle koozie. Inside, a number of national and local beer vendors set up tents, stands and taps to offer guests free samples of select new, popular and seasonal brews. Sam Adams, Founders, Yards, Brooklyn Brewery and Flying Fish Brewing Co. were among the more than 50 breweries who came out to support the Essex County Parks event last weekend.

The event also featured a variety of interesting eats, including traditional German fare, empanadas, specialty beef jerky, kettle corn and even chocolate-covered bacon. Visitors were able to appreciate their food and drink while listening to engaging German and Bavarian tunes, played live by an Oompah Band.

While the Oktoberfest emphasized various vendors who were in attendance, some added enjoyment came from the number of visible animals who peeked their heads out from their enclosures to see what all of the excitement was about. From sea lions and penguins to snakes and bears, Turtle Back Zoo houses a variety of animals, many of which were thrilled to see the guests who enthusiastically visited the park that night.

The Ales ‘N Tails Oktoberfest was a unique event that mixed the comradery of casual beer-drinking with the fun of a trip to the zoo. While many beer festivals simply offer a long list of brews, snacks and refreshments, they often lack an awe-inspiring venue. Turtle Back Zoo’s Ales ‘N Tails Oktoberfest had it all, marking a great start to the fall of 2016.

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  • Hero (Top) Feature Image (& Additional Images): © Patrick Lombardi / Best of NJ
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