Conservation at the Utica Zoo


Nestled at the edge of beautiful Roscoe-Conkling Park, we strive to set an example for conservation and environmental stewardship in the surrounding area. Our long standing mission has been to “foster public understanding and appreciation of wildlife species and their ecosystems through education, conservation and recreation” At a time when zoos are playing an increasing role in habitat preservation and species survival, we recognize the significance of any conservation effort no matter the scope, and are proud to participate in a number of local and national projects.

Ex-situ conservation is the process of protecting an endangered species of plant or animal outside of its natural habitat.  SSP, or Species Survival Plan, programs are designed by AZA to manage captive populations of threatened and endangered species within North American zoos and aquariums, and are one of the primary ways that the global zoo community is working to combat extinction.  In some instances, this may mean the zoo is asked to breed a species to help increase their numbers.  In others, this means simply providing homes to animals that are not in a breeding program or are otherwise not able to be released into the wild due to injury or human intervention.  Some species in these programs have been successfully reintroduced into their native habitat.

The Utica Zoo has always been an enthusiastic partner in these programs, and we currently have several SSP animals, including red panda, ring-tailed lemurs, white-naped crane, Mexican wolves, Chinese alligators, California sea lions, white-handed gibbons, Mexican spider monkeys, golden lion tamarins, cotton top tamarins, and prehensile-tailed skinks.

Learn more about SSPs

In-situ conservation is the process of protecting an endangered species in its natural habitat.  For a zoo of our size, it can be difficult to commit significant monetary resources to these types of projects, but with the help of  our recycling and candy machine programs, we are able to provide small grants to select organizations that are on the ground in range countries. In the past we have contributed to such organizations as the Peregrine Fund and Snow Leopard Trust.  We have also provided staff assistance to programs such as monitoring and numbering of the Chittenango Ovate Amber Snail, a species believed to be endangered in a small area of upstate NY; as well as field studies of turtle populations in the Utica Marsh ecosystem.  We will continue to add to our program participation through funding and staff participation in in-situ research.

Recycling & Composting

Here at the zoo, we believe that even small steps can influence big changes. From using energy efficient light bulbs to collecting rainwater for watering plants, it all makes a difference! With that in mind, we have several different recycling and composting stations throughout the zoo that guests are free to use. We also have a recycling drop box outside of the entrance that can be used when the zoo is closed.

We have partnered with Empties4Cash and The Funding Factory to launch a recycling program for ink cartridges and cell phones. Both of these items can generate a huge amount of waste, some of which is potentially toxic, when disposed of in landfills. All makes and models are accepted for recycling and all of the proceeds generated from these programs will be used towards conservation projects here at the zoo. Look for the containers in the gift shop, and turn them in at the zoo instead of tossing them in the trash!

Project FeederWatch

The Utica Zoo is now participating in Project FeederWatch, which is a national winter long program designed to monitor the types of bird that are visiting our feeders and the surrounding area. FeederWatchers count the birds from November through early April and send their results to FeederWatch staff. The data helps scientists track broadscale movements of winter bird populations and long term trends in bird distribution and abundance. To learn more about the program and how you can participate, please visit

Zoo Newz Stay up to date on all things ZOO with the quarterly Zoo Newz.

Enrichment Besides the day to day cleaning and feeding of the animals, the animal keepers are also responsible for Environmental Enrichment and Training. NWPTAG

Hours and Admisson

April 1 to October 31: Open 10AM until 4:45 PM
November 1 to March 31: Open 10AM, admission/gift shop closes at 3PM & Zoo gates close at 4PM

Admission 4/1- 10/31 11/1- 3/31 & Group
Child 3-12 $4.75 $2.50
Adult 13-61 $7.75 $4.25
Senior 62+, Military, College w/ ID $6.75 $3.50

Upcoming Events

10:30 AM Zoo Adventures – Forever Antlers
Zoo Adventures – Forever Antlers
Dec 19 @ 10:30 AM – 11:30 AM
Zoo Adventures - Forever Antlers
Join our monthly preschool program as we explore the world of animals through storybooks! Each session includes a story, animal meet and greet, snack, and activity. The cost is $5.00 per child for members and $10.00 per child for non-members. Child admission included and Adults are free. The class meets in the auditorium at 10:30am.
10:30 AM Zoo Adventures – Holiday Special
Zoo Adventures – Holiday Special
Dec 23 @ 10:30 AM – 11:30 AM
Zoo Adventures - Holiday Special
Join us for a special holiday Zoo Adventures. Story, craft and of course, animals! Free for Members, $5.00/ child for non-members, adults free.
10:30 AM Dangerous Defenses – Zoo Explorer
Dangerous Defenses – Zoo Explorer
Dec 27 @ 10:30 AM – 11:30 AM
Dangerous Defenses - Zoo Explorer
Dangerous Defenses-December programs will focus on the different ways animals keep themselves safe. Antlers and Horns and Prickly Thorns! Animals protect themselves in an amazing array of ways. Join zoo educators as we learn about animal defenses. We will meet a few of our education animals and tour the zoo. This program is free with your admission and recommended for ages 5 and up.
11:00 AM Happy Zoo Year
Happy Zoo Year
Dec 31 @ 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Happy Zoo Year
On New Years Eve (Wednesday, December 31st) the Utica Zoo will be celebrating “Happy Zoo Year” from 11 to 1 pm in the Auditorium. Madagascar the movie will be shown on a projector screen. Kids will be able to participate in arts & crafts, and animal meet & greets. There will be a Hot Chocolate toast at Noon with free cookies on the side. Regular Winter Admission. Free for Members. The Utica Zoo is open on New Years Day.

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Zoo Blog

  • Santa takes a photo with a child at the Utica Zoo Holiday Hoot.
    Holiday Hoot 2014

    December 14th, 2014 – The Utica Zoo welcomed Santa Claus and visitors to the annual Holiday Hoot today. Children were able to get their pictures taken with Santa by Whitesboro Fun Pix, and also let Santa know what they wanted for Christmas. Chuck E. Cheese stopped by to give tokens to kids, and take photos as well. Docents and educational staff brought out animals that the whole family could interact with. The mild temperatures made it a perfect day to walk around the Utica Zoo and see all the animals on exhibit. Children participated in arts and crafts in the Auditorium. Visitors enjoyed hot chocolate and coffee, along with free cookies and candy. People brought gifts for our animals from Read More