Zoo Happenings

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Going to the special showing of Island of Lemurs: Madagascar

Photos by darlene Benzon

Photos by darlene Benzon

Island of Lemurs: Madagascar is not just a movie title, it’s the perfect description of Madagascar. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I can’t wait to see it and compare it to my experiences. I’ve been to Madagascar twice, and there is still so much more to see. Dr. Patricia Wright (who is featured in the movie and will be introducing the film at this special showing) invited us and planned a trip for docents in 2007.

Mouse Lemur IMG_2987smEleven of us were able to go. She showed us her beloved Ranomafana National Park with it’s golden bamboo lemurs, greater bamboo lemurs, Milne-Edwards’ sifaka, and mouse lemurs. I’m sure you will see all of these in the movie without the rainy hike through the forest. I can only guess as to the other lemurs that are featured in the movie, but I’m sure you will see some of my favorites. They come in a wide variety of sizes, colors and temperaments. I’ve only seen 15 of the over 100 species in the wild, including holding the smallest mouse lemur (as part of the research going on at ValBio at Ranomafana) and watching and listening to the largest lemurs, the Indris with their haunting calls. Being there once only made me want to return (which I did).

Silky_MG_9561_6602smIt’s hard to imagine just how many varied environments there are on an island only 1,000 miles long, but we saw spiny forests, coastline, rice fields, rivers, mountains, rain forests. Each has lemurs that take advantage of the particular food available.

We met the wonderful Malagasy people and listened to their music. We watched them weaving, and making paper with flowers pressed in it, farming, playing and breaking rocks down to gravel by hand. We saw children going to school, working in fields, laughing, playing and waving to us.

When you see this movie you will begin to understand the wonder and beauty of this land. By coming to this special viewing you will be helping these lemurs and the Seneca Park Zoo conservation efforts. If you choose to attend our 21-and-older Party Madagascar the following night at the Zoo, you will be helping even more. I hope to see you there.

- darlene Benzon, docent


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Stay local and enjoy Independence Day in wild style!

Photo by Kelli O'Brien

Photo by Kelli O’Brien

Don’t miss out on our membership special only available at the Front Gate (Friday, July 4 through Sunday, July 6): Join or renew your membership and take $10 off.

471-107751-products_firecrcker_300x300All weekend long, our Summer Programs will engage and enthrall the whole family. And leave the cooler at home – we’ve got delicious lunch options for you at our Eagle’s Landing Café or Crater Canteen, whether it’s a family meal or an afternoon treat. As a bonus: Firecracker popsicles are only $1 all weekend.

We also have a free giveaway for each child who comes to the Zoo Friday through Sunday. And, mention “July4thWeekend” while shopping at the ZooShop and you’ll get 15% off your purchase.

See YOU at the Zoo for red, white and blue!


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Open Late Tuesdays starts July 1

Open Late collage 1We’re excited to announce that Open Late Tuesdays are starting back up for the summer! On Tuesday nights in July and August, enjoy a 5:30 p.m. Hyena Experience with our spotted hyena Lou and engage with our zoo keepers during our 6:30 p.m. Keeper Talks. You can view a complete Keeper Talk schedule here. So save the dates, gather the kids and plan an evening visit with our animals while spending quality time together. And no need to eat dinner at home – our Eagle’s Landing Cafe, Crater Canteen as well as various snack kiosks are ready to serve you delicious food options!

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. this Saturday (June 28), join us and learn about the fascinating country of Madagascar as we celebrate its Independence Day during Discover Madagascar Day. Touch table stations highlighting lemurs, reptiles and more will be available along with family-friendly games. This event is free with Zoo admission!

And don’t forget – our Photo Contest deadline is 11:59 p.m. next Tuesday (July 1) so get those photos in. Click here for details.

See YOU at the Zoo.

- Kelli O’Brien, Social Media and Public Relations Coordinator


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Jungle Jog: “Overall experience was fantastic!”

Photos by Vasiliy Baziuk

Photos by Vasiliy Baziuk

No, we’re not patting ourselves on the back here. That is a quote from one of the 1,200 runners who took part in last year’s Jungle Jog. The weather was great, the atmosphere festive and runners of all ages ran to benefit your Zoo! We’re only a month away from Jungle Jog 2014 and if you still need incentive to register, hear what other runners had to say about Jungle Jog 2013:

“Volunteers and staff were AWESOME! Course was challenging and fun. Great family oriented event all around.”

“The event was well run, and it was a great experience. There was a great energy at the event; I will definitely be there in the future!”

“Volunteers were great and so friendly. I liked the 5K course. There was good info and signage to know where to go before, after and during the race. It was a fun atmosphere – love the costumed animals and running past the real animals.”

Jungle Jog 2014 promises to be better than ever! It’s the 25th anniversary of the only race that takes you through the Zoo and all proceeds support your Zoo. We’ve stepped up our game with improved refreshment variety and water placement, and we’ve also addressed the most common grumble about the event by adding more restrooms. Need to know more? Well, here goes—

The 5K is a challenging race that begins in Lower Seneca Park near the Trout Pond. The USATF-certified course (NY12080JG) continues up the incline from the park to the loop near St. Paul Street and then takes you through the Zoo by some of our animals. Then it’s back down the hill to the finish near the Wegman Lodge where water and other refreshments await. This course boasts natural beauty, well placed water stations, seasoned event staff and absolutely no vehicle traffic to impede your run. Prizes are awarded to the top three finishers in each age group and the overall male and female winners receive $100 each. Be the first to break the course record and you could win $50!

If a 5K is a bit much for you or your child, we offer the Seneca Park Mile as a shorter alternative. The mile course circles the Trout Pond in Lower Seneca Park. The course is nearly flat and is suitable for all ages and abilities. Each runner who finishes receives a certificate of completion. A Kids’ Fun Run follows for children ages 2 to 7 to encourage running for fun! This is a 50-yard dash and each runner will receive a medal.

We’ve also added a Kids’ Fun Zone for 2014! Included will be fun activities, snacks and face-painting. It wouldn’t be complete without a visit from the ZooMobile, so stop by and visit some animal ambassadors from our Education Collection.

Event: Jungle Jog 5K & Seneca Park Mile

Location: Seneca Park and Seneca Park Zoo

Date: Sunday, July 20, 2014

Registration: $25 for 5K; $15 for Mile; no registration required for Kids’ Fun Run

Register: Click here to register online

By phone at: (585) 336-7200 ext. 0

In person at: The Seneca Park Zoo, 2222 St. Paul Street, Rochester, NY 14621 OR at Medved Running and Walking Outfitters at 3400 Monroe Avenue (Pittsford Colony Plaza)

Should you have any questions, contact me at (585) 336-7200 ext. 0 or mritchie@senecazoo.org. I’ll leave you with one final quote from 2013: “This is my favorite race! I love the course and how the volunteers cheer the participants on! There is such a great vibe there.” Jungle Jog is only a month away so register today!

-  Michele Schepisi-Ritchie, Office & Marketing Assistant


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Two awesome – and vastly different – Zoo fundraisers

Photos by Vasiliy Baziuk

Photos by Vasiliy Baziuk

Whether you grab your party shoes or your running shoes, the Zoo has two great fundraisers on the horizon. Saturday, June 7 will be the Zoo’s “Night to Shine” as we celebrate the 25th anniversary of Zoobilation. This gala event is the Zoo’s largest single-day fundraiser of the year and it’s such a big deal we close the Zoo all day to prepare! A limited number of tickets are on sale through 5 p.m. Monday, June 2 by calling (585) 336-7217. Tickets will not be sold at the door. This event is for people ages 21 and older only.

What to expect at Zoobilation: 

  • A Zoo-wide party kicked off by a glass of chilled champagne
  • A wine and spirits trail highlighting local vintners and distillers
  • Live music by Bobby Henrie and the Goners
  • A live auction featuring entertaining auctioneers, the Bermuda Mavericks
  • Delicious food catered by The Rabbit Room
  • Exceptional libations, including a signature Zoobilation beverage
  • Delectable hors d’oeuvres catered by Eagle’s Landing Café
  • A silent auction offering a wide range of items, packages and services
  • Casual to semi-formally attired patrons aged 21 and older
  • A wine pull and raffles with prizes
  • A few surprises and so much more!

View event details, including ticket prices, here.

Note: Seneca Park Zoo will be closed Saturday, June 7 in preparation of Zoobilation.The Zoo will re-open for regular hours on Sunday, June 8.

Also celebrating 25 years is the Zoo’s annual Jungle Jog! This family-friendly event will take place Sunday, July 20 and is geared toward runners and walkers of all ages and abilities. For 25 years area runners have enjoyed the only 5K that takes them through the Zoo and past some of the Zoo’s animals. The course is USATF-certified and begins in lower Seneca Park. Just getting started on your running career? Or perhaps you have children who like to run? We have races other than the 5K. Try the Seneca Park Mile for a lovely trot around the Trout Pond, or for the littlest runners, the Kids’ Fun Run. New this year is the Kids’ Fun Zone which will include activities and our popular ZooMobile!

Jungle Jog registration is underway so register online, by phone or by mail. You may also register in person at the Zoo or at Medved Running and Walking Outfitters, 3400 Monroe Avenue, Rochester. Cost for the 5K is $25 per runner and for the Seneca Park Mile, $15 per runner. No registration is needed for the Kids’ Fun Run. Online registration closes at 4 p.m. Wednesday, July 16 and walk-in and phone registration closes at 4 p.m. Thursday, July 17. You may register at Medved through 4 p.m. Saturday, July 19. Please plan accordingly because there will be no registration on race day. Pick up your bib number and Jungle Jog T-shirt (while supplies last) at Medved from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, July 18 or from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, July 19. Race-day bib pick-up will be at the Wegman Lodge in lower Seneca Park.

View event details, including important parking information, here.

Jungle Jog is sponsored by M&T Bank, Woods Oviatt Gilman, LLP and MVP Health Care. In-kind support provided by Medved Running and Walking Outfitters and McDonalds.

- Michele Schepisi-Ritchie, Office and Marketing Assistant


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Bowl for a BIG cause

Photo by Jeff Gerew

Photo by Jeff Gerew

Join us at Empire Lanes in Webster for our annual Bowling for Rhinos fundraiser from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. this Friday (May 16)! The cost is $25 per bowler and includes pizza, soda, three games of bowling and shoe rental. All proceeds support rhino protection, so come on out with family and friends for a fun night of bowling while showing BIG support for rhinos in the wild. To register, click here.

On Saturday (May 17), we celebrate World Turtle Day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visitors will learn ways they can act on behalf of turtle and tortoise species through a variety of family-friendly activities. To view the day’s schedule, click here.

Limited tickets remain for Zoobilation

Photo by Vasiliy Baziuk

Photo by Vasiliy Baziuk

You won’t want to miss the 25th anniversary celebration of Zoobilation on Saturday, June 7! Limited tickets still remain; call 336-7217 to get yours today!

Delight in delectable food and drink. Enjoy the swing sounds of area favorites Bobby Henrie & the Goners. Explore the enhanced Wine, Beer & Tasting Trail. See select animals take center stage with demo experiences.

Help YOUR Zoo raise money through one-of-a-kind live auction items only available at Zoobilation including a Grand Cayman luxury getaway, an African Photo Safari excursion, Notre Dame tickets and much more – click here to get bidding! You can view previews of live auction items, too.

- Kelli O’Brien, Social Media and Public Relations Coordinator


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Enter our Mother’s Day contest on Twitter!

Photo by Kelli O'Brien

Photo by Kelli O’Brien

Visit the Zoo this weekend and share your best photo on Twitter by 5 p.m. on Sunday, May 11. Enter by replying to @SenecaParkZoo with the hashtag #spzmoms. You may only enter one photo; photos may be of your family or ours!

On the morning of Monday, May 12, we’ll select and post four (4) photos to our Twitter account to be voted on. To vote, simply click “favorite” on the photo of your choice. The photo with the most favorites will win a $20 ZooShop gift certificate! Winner will be contacted by tagging their Twitter account name. Winner will then e-mail kobrien@senecazoo.org to claim their prize.

Good luck!

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