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

10:00 AM $5 OFF Memberships and Renewals
$5 OFF Memberships and Renewals
Nov 28 @ 10:00 AM – Dec 2 @ 3:00 PM
$5 OFF Memberships and Renewals
The Utica Zoo will be discounting Memberships and Renewals $5 off from Black Friday to Giving Tuesday (11/28 to 12/2). $5 discount only available at the Utica Zoo Gift Shop which is open from 10am to 3pm. View all Utica Zoo Membership options at
10:30 AM Zoo Adventures – Bundle Up!
Zoo Adventures – Bundle Up!
Dec 4 @ 10:30 AM – 11:30 AM
Zoo Adventures - Bundle Up!
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 Dangerous Defenses – Antler Anti...
Dangerous Defenses – Antler Anti...
Dec 6 @ 10:30 AM – 11:30 AM
Dangerous Defenses - Antler Antics Story Time
Dangerous Defenses-December programs will focus on the different ways animals keep themselves safe. Tarkington Moose is losing his antlers! What can he do? Find out as zoo educators read a fun story and introduce you to a couple of education animals. Free with admission. 10:30am in the Auditorium.  
10:30 AM Homeschool Program – All About B...
Homeschool Program – All About B...
Dec 11 @ 10:30 AM – 11:30 AM
Homeschool Program - All About Birds
Our interactive classes help to further home school studies through group activities and animal interactions. 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.

View Calendar

Zoo Blog

  • Zoo Keepers from the Utica Zoo feeding Camels.
    Utica Zoo adds new Camel Window
    November 15, 2014

    The Utica Zoo has a brand new window for the Bactrian Camels. Every day at 11:30am we open up the doors for a keeper talk and feeding. The window is at the bottom of the ramp going up to our overlook, so you are actually at face level with the camels. Visitors that come to this feeding get to see the camels eat their daily produce diet. Their snacks consist of bananas, carrots, lettuce, yams, and apples. You will be just a few feet away from them and be able to learn more about the Bactrian Camel species, and specifically about Nigel and Najla. We have gotten a wonderful response from everyone with this new window. Most people are shocked Read More

  • DHMexicanWolf16x20
    Utica Zoo celebrates Wolf Awareness Week
    October 14, 2014

    It’s Wolf Awareness Week at the Utica Zoo from 10/12 to 10/18. Although they are essential to the health of the ecosystem and keeping herbivore populations in check, wolves have been the subject of intense persecution throughout the centuries, and most species are either threatened or endangered due to myths and misunderstandings. Less than 100 individuals currently live in the wild. Mexican wolves are the most endangered gray wolf subspecies in North America, and our three females; Bella, Sierra and Aztec, are among the last of their kind. After becoming extinct in the wild during the mid-1900s, Mexican wolves are finally making a small comeback in Arizona and New Mexico, but there is still a long way to go. The Read More

  • ming yue
    Utica Zoo welcomes new female Red Panda
    October 10, 2014

    The Utica Zoo introduced a new female Red Panda today (October 8th, 2014). Her name is Ming Yue. She will join the male Red Panda Muse in the same exhibit. Q&A with Zoo Keeper Beth Ricci Why did we get a new Red Panda? We were recommended to bring Ming Yue to Utica as part of the Red Panda Species Survival Plan, which is a breeding and transfer plan. She was recommended to breed with our resident male, Muse. Where is Ming Yue from?  She came to us from the Prospect Park Zoo in Brooklyn, NY What is the breeding season?  Breeding occurs in winter, generally January-February. Breeding season is affected by photoperiod. Photoperiodism is the physiological reaction of organisms to the Read More