Utica Zoo

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Utica Zoo
Date opened 1914
Location 1 Utica Zoo Way, Utica, New York, US
Coordinates 43°04′55″N 75°14′46″W / 43.082°N 75.246°W / 43.082; -75.246Coordinates: 43°04′55″N 75°14′46″W / 43.082°N 75.246°W / 43.082; -75.246
Land area 40 acres (16 ha)
Number of animals 200
Memberships formerly AZA
Website uticazoo.org

Utica Zoo is a regional zoo in Utica, New York, situated in a section of Roscoe Conkling Park.[1] The zoo has both captive animal exhibits, including several endangered species, and a children's petting zoo.

Utica Zoo welcome sign


The Utica Zoo was founded in 1914 with an initial collection of three fallow deer. The City of Utica owns the 80 acres (32 ha) of zoo property, of which 40 is currently developed. The first permanent building was erected in 1920. The City of Utica Parks Department managed the zoo until 1964, when responsibility was transferred to a dedicated organization. This organization was later chartered by the State of New York as an educational institution. The first professional zoo director was hired in 1966. The City of Utica, despite owning the land, does not financially support the zoo: it is primarily funded by the Oneida County government, the New York State Natural Heritage Program, and fundraising by the Zoo and private donors.[2] Amid financial issues, the zoo lost accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums in 2006, but intends to become re-accredited.[3]

In 2000, a 15.5 feet (4.7 m) tall metal sculpture of a watering can was obtained by the zoo. This sculpture is listed by Guinness World Records as the world's largest watering can.[4]

In 2011, the Utica Zoo announced they were debt-free and started adding more animals and exhibits. In November of 2015 the Utica Zoo started their “We Don't Like it Either” campaign to raise money for reconstruction on the building.[5]


As part of conservation programs, the Utica Zoo has housed Mexican wolves, red pandas, white-naped cranes, white-handed gibbons, Mexican spider monkeys, golden lion tamarins, golden-headed lion tamarins, California sea lions, prehensile-tailed skinks, collard peccaries and snowy owls.[6] Its current collection includes African lions, Hartmann's mountain zebras, and California sea lions, and the petting zoo features Nigerian dwarf goats.[7][8]

The African lions at Utica Zoo are one of the biggest attractions. In 2011, the zoo took in lions Bakari and Monni. Prior to their arrival, it had been 30 years since the zoo had lions.[9] The zoo now has a family of lions that were born in Utica.

The Utica Zoo also offers personal animal encounters with African lions, California sea lions, red pandas, camels and the children's zoo yard. Each encounter varies in price range, availability, and amount of people allowed at once.[10]


The zoo hosts a handful of events each year that range from family events to adult events. These events are a big portion of the money the zoo earns to fund the exhibits. [11] Dollar Day takes place in March when admission is one dollar. The zoo also hosts an educational scavenger hunt to celebrate Easter. Wine in the Wilderness, which is in early June, and Brewfest, which is in early August, are alcohol-themed events for adults. During the summer, the zoo also has a free night each month. At the end of October is Spooktacular. Holiday Hoot takes place in December.[12]

Animal Encounters[edit]

Utica Zoo offers up close and personal animal encounters with the following animals: African Lion, California Sea Lion, Red Panda, Bactrian Camels, and Goats.[13] The Red Panda Encounter is their most popular encounter, and popularity increased when two cubs were born in 2015.[14] Visitors travel from all over the United States to feed the red pandas at the Utica Zoo.[15] In April of 2016, Utica Zoo Red Panda Encounters were mentioned on the popular game show Jeopardy. [16]


  1. ^ Natural Science for Youth Foundation (1990). Directory, Natural Science Centers. p. 228. 
  2. ^ "Utica Zoo: History". 
  3. ^ "Utica Observer-Dispatch: Utica Zoo rebounds with influx of animals". 
  4. ^ "Guinness World Records: Largest Watering Can". 
  5. ^ "“We Don’t Like It Either” Campaign." Utica Zoo . N.p., 11 Feb. 2016. Web. 3 May 2016.
  6. ^ "Utica Zoo: Conservation". 
  7. ^ "Utica Zoo: History". 
  8. ^ "Utica Zoo: Adopt an Animal". 
  9. ^ Cluckey, Keshia. "Utica Zoo Adds Two Lions to Collection, Opens for Season Saturday." www.uticaod.com . Observer Dispatch, 30 Mar. 2011. Web. 3 May 2016.
  10. ^ "Utica Zoo Animal Encounters." Utica Zoo . N.p., n.d. Web. 03 May 2016.
  11. ^ "“We Don’t Like It Either” Campaign." Utica Zoo . N.p., 11 Feb. 2016. Web. 3 May 2016.
  12. ^ "Utica Zoo 2016 Events." Utica Zoo . N.p., 23 Jan. 2016. Web. 03 May 2016.
  13. ^ "Animal Encounters - Utica Zoo". uticazoo.org. Retrieved 2016-08-18. 
  14. ^ "New York state zoo welcomes birth of two Red Panda cubs". Retrieved 2016-08-18. 
  15. ^ "Utica Zoo Red Panda Encounter Visitors". drive.google.com. Retrieved 2016-08-18. 
  16. ^ "WKTV.com | Jeopardy contestant mentions Utica Zoo during game show interview". 2016-04-29. Retrieved 2016-08-18. 

External links[edit]