Home Lifestyle All About Northern New Jersey’s Own Bat Cave

All About Northern New Jersey’s Own Bat Cave

by Danielle Farina
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For many, bats don’t exactly conjure warm and fuzzy images — brooding comic book heroes, abandoned attics, and spooky cemeteries are just a few of the dark motifs often associated with the flying mammals (the only mammals that can sustain flight, by the way). In reality, though, more than half of the bat species in the United States are in severe decline or listed as endangered, and one New Jersey resident has dedicated his life to protecting and preserving these misunderstood creatures. Just 20 minutes outside of Montclair at 303 Midland Avenue in Garfield is New Jersey’s very own “Bat Cave,” a nonprofit conservation center for bats and other wildlife run by NJ resident Joseph D’Angeli. Read on to learn more about The Wildlife Conservation Center in Garfield, New Jersey, and how you can support this wildlife haven.

bat cave garfield new jersey

Photo Credit: The Wildlife Conservation Center

About The Wildlife Conservation Center

The Wildlife Conservation Center (a.k.a. “The Bat Cave”) is a nonprofit conservation center that specializes in bats, but bats aren’t the only creatures to call this New Jersey haven home. The center was founded in 1991 by New Jersey resident Joseph D’Angeli, a state-licensed Chiroptologist. We’ll spare you the Google search: it means someone who studies bats. Joe’s license means the facility can exhibit, lecture on, and study live bats. The team takes in animals that have been abandoned by private owners or other shelters that can’t care for them, according to the New York Times. In a conversation with The Montclair Girl, Joe shared that the center is currently home to “sloths, a full reptile room, a dwarf kangaroo known as the wallaby, an owl, giant tortoises… armadillos, and other exotic animals.” Other animals at the facility have included ferrets, a kangaroo, sloths, turtles, giant cockroaches, snakes, a kinkajou, an alligator, monitor lizards, and a Bengal cat.

The Ivy at Chatham

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The most popular program at the center is called “Bats, Bats, Bats!” and is a lecture series with Joe himself. Guests can expect a formal presentation with a few visits from batty friends — all to dismantle the harmful mythology surrounding bats. Per The Bat Cave’s website, the series explores “why bats are now being protected because of their vital role in virtually every environment on earth, for example, their importance in insect maintenance and rainforest regeneration.” Joe wants people to learn about bats’ positive contributions to the world: eating insects. “Bats are our best natural defense against mosquitoes,” he said in a New York Times article.

wildlife conservation center new jersey

Photo Credit: The Wildlife Conservation Center

Beyond the bats, there’s also a program called “Reptiles Everywhere,” an investigative lecture on the history of dinosaurs and their evolution into modern-day reptiles. The herpetophobe (someone who fears reptiles) in your life might want to sit this one out — the description warns “Just make sure your friends and family members who LOVVVVVVVVE snakes are sitting next to you.” Take a look at all of the center’s programs here



In addition to its exhibits and programs, The Wildlife Conservation Center is also available for birthday parties and scout groups. The center is available for event rentals, but The Bat Cave team can also come to you. The team hosts an annual Batstock celebration which is exactly what you’re picturing: a fundraiser concert slash party slash bat walk to support the group’s mission.


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A post shared by NJBatman/Joe D’Angeli (@njbatman)

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The Wildlife Conservation Center is open Friday to Sunday from 4PM to 8PM on Fridays, and 12PM to 8PM on Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets must be purchased in advance to enter the center and are sold weekly every Wednesday — it’s $10 to enter, but children ages three and under are free. You can find the purchase link here

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