Zoo Happenings

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This weekend: Cruise with the Zoo and say Boo!

Today and tomorrow, Seneca Park Zoo invites you to be a part of its initiative One Cubic Foot, with four opportunities to enjoy a special conservation cruise of the Sam Patch and explore the Genesee River. Find information about more upcoming My Genesee Fall Events here.

Photo courtesy of Sam Patch

Photo courtesy of Sam Patch

ZooBoo also begins this weekend, with trick-or-treating, educational activities and photo opportunities from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, October 10 and Sunday, October 11. 50 cents from every ZooBoo ticket benefits Health in Harmony, a nonprofit organization working to save orangutans from extinction in Borneo.

Photo by Kelli O'Brien

Photo by Kelli O’Brien

The Zoo is OPEN on Monday for the Columbus Day holiday, so you can keep learning on the day off from school!

Photo by Ceci Menchetti

Photo by Ceci Menchetti

October ZooClasses are also underway, and there’s still time to register your 2, 3 4 or 5-year-old for one of these hands-on educational experiences. Register online here in order to participate.

It’s going to be a beautiful fall weekend; we hope you’ll spend part of it with us!


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Fall into October at the Zoo

As October begins, the Zoo will focus on the local environment this weekend.

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, October 3, join us in celebrating our unique ecosystem during Genesee Trail Day  with storytelling, #OneCubicFoot citizen science opportunities and hands-on learning — all free with regular Zoo admission.

Photo by Kelli O’Brien

And from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, October 4, do your part for conservation by recycling old electronics and shredding documents at the Go Green! Recycle Rally. Click here for a list of accepted items.

Photo by Kelli O’Brien

At 7 p.m. on Monday, October 5, we’ll turn our conservation focus internationally with a lecture by Dr. Jeff Wyatt, the Zoo’s Director of Animal Health and Conservation, and his collaborators from the nonprofit Health in Harmony. Join us at the Rochester Academy of Medicine and learn about their important work as they discuss Saving the Forest with a Stethoscope: A Borneo One Health Initiative.

October at the Zoo also means ZooBoo! Members can purchase discount tickets in advance until Monday, October 5. Find more event information here. There are still several volunteer opportunities available during ZooBoo. Contact Community Engagement Coordinator Elizabeth Roach at (585) 295-7354 or eroach@senecazoo.org for more information and to sign up!

Photo by Kelli O’Brien

So whether it’s to learn about the Genesee, go green or celebrate Halloween, we hope to see you this month!

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One Cubic Foot fall events begin October 1

One Cubic Foot, the Seneca Park Zoo Society initiative to assess the biodiversity and health of the Genesee River, came to life this summer as photographer David Liittschwager, Smithsonian Institution research zoologist Chris Meyer, and numerous community organizations gathered in the river.

Liittschwager and his team documented and identified every species that moved in and out of a one-cubic-foot frame set into the river during the equivalent of a 24-hour period, offering a portrait of the comeback the river has made in the last decade. In addition to beautiful, high-resolution photographs, the One Cubic Foot team also produced DNA barcoding of their findings, contributing to the Smithsonian’s database of known species. In addition to beautiful, high-resolution photographs, the One Cubic Foot team also produced DNA barcoding of their findings, contributing to the Smithsonian’s database of known species.

Photo courtesy of David Liittschwager

But the initiative doesn’t end there. This fall, you’ll see One Cubic Foot represented at numerous My Genesee events throughout the community, with opportunities to connect to the project yourself.

Join us Thursday, October 1 for the Center for Environmental Initiatives Community Salute to the Environment, during which the Zoo Society’s Director of Programming and Conservation Action will give an update on the State of the River based on our One Cubic Foot findings.

From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on October 4, find the One Cubic Foot display at Ontario Beach Park as part of River Romance weekend. Learn about the recent initiative to assess the health of the Genesee River by examining how many creatures exist in one cubic foot along the shore of the Genesee River.

October 9 & 10, ship off with special cruises of the Sam Patch from Corn Hill Landing. More info on cruise times here.

Photo courtesy of Sam Patch

Beginning October 1, you can also raise a glass to the health of the Genesee when you visit the Genesee Brew House Pilot Brewery Tasting Bar, where a portion of proceeds will be donated to the One Cubic Foot initiative through the end of the year.

And that’s just what we have planned for October.

One Cubic Foot events will continue throughout the fall and winter, with exciting things on the horizon in 2016. Stay tuned here, and see you on the Genesee!

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Fun for all ages at the Zoo this weekend

Summer is on its way out in Rochester as students head back to school and the days get shorter. As the season comes to an end this weekend, the Zoo has something for kids and adults of all ages to enjoy.

Tonight, September 11, is your last chance this season to experience ZooBrew, the Zoo’s 21-and-older happy hour event, with live music by Significant Other, Amy Montrois and The Midnight City.

Photo by Gabriel Mara Isserlis

Enjoy local brews, animal encounters and the unique atmosphere as you say farewell to summer. Tickets are available at the Front Gate during the event.

Photo by Gabriel Mara Isserlis

After a night out with friends on Friday, make it a family Zoo day on Sunday, September 13, as we celebrate National Grandparents Day and with a special admission offer and an encore presentation of our popular Summer Programs (sponsored by McDonalds).

Photo by Kelli O’Brien

Enjoy one free youth admission with one paid adult when you visit and spend the day discovering with grandma and grandpa. Your Zoo is dedicated to ensuring an engaging and accessible experience for people of all ages and abilities: a number of wheelchairs are available at the ZooShop free of charge and exhibits feature animal conservation information interesting to adults, as well as kid-friendly viewing areas and interpretive signage.

Join us this weekend and discover what your Zoo has to offer!

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ZooCamper inspired to save orangutans

We can’t believe another summer of ZooCamp has come and gone! But we’re comforted to know that it’s not the last time we’ll see everyone, since many of our campers return to ZooCamp year after year, becoming more and more interested in saving animals from extinction and finding ways to help do that.

This summer, one such camper made us very proud by putting her inspiration into action. Her name is Avi and she’s eight years old, entering fourth grade in September.

Photo by Ceci Menchetti

“Avi learned about palm oil, deforestation and the effects on the orangutan population by attending ZooCamp at the age of five,” Avi’s mom Louisa told us. “Ever since, she became a little activist by educating others about this great cause.”

But Avi didn’t just stop at telling others how they can help save orangutans. She made changes in her own eight-year-old lifestyle to help orangutans herself.

“She insisted on boycotting companies that use palm oil in their products and makes certain to read labels when grocery shopping,” Louisa says.

But that wasn’t all. Avi felt especially connected to baby orangutans who lose their mothers in their natural range and wanted to have a direct impact on these orphaned animals. So she did some research and found out about The Orangutan Project, an organization that could help her adopt an orphaned orangutan.

In order to raise money to make the adoption, Avi sold lemonade and saved every cent until she was able to raise the funds.

“She’s been on cloud nine ever since,” Louisa says. “This was a big accomplishment for her. She is our little eight year old activist!”

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Make the Zoo part of your Labor Day Weekend

Summer may be coming to a close, but the Zoo’s still making the most of it this Labor Day Weekend!

On Saturday, September 5, we’re celebrating the African lions with a birthday party and enrichment demonstration. The Zoo is home to five African lions – three adults that arrived in December 2011 from an animal park outside Pretoria, South Africa (one male, Chester, born in September 2010 and two females: Zuri, born in September 2010 and Asha, born in January of 2011) and two juveniles (two females, Savannah and Amali) born in March 2013. Savannah was born here at the Zoo in March 2013, while Amali was born in March 2013 at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo.

Photo by Marie Kraus

The rest of the weekend, enjoy keeper chats and animal experiences every hour as Summer Programs, sponsored by McDonalds, continue through Monday, September 7.

Photo by Ceci Menchetti

Next Friday, September 11 is also the last ZooBrew of the summer and we’re looking for volunteers ages 21 and older to join our Zoo Recycle Crew! It’s a fun way to enjoy the event while also doing your part to promote recycling and keep the Zoo clean.

Photo by Ceci Menchetti

If you’re interested in volunteering as an individual or with a group, contact our Community Engagement Coordinator Elizabeth Roach at eroach@senecazoo.org or (585) 295-7354 by Tuesday, September 8!

So as you say goodbye to summer, we hope you’ll make the Zoo a part of your holiday weekend!


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Visitors and animals enjoy produce grown right here at the Zoo

Did you know that there is a produce garden at the Zoo? It’s located across from the new Education Center and maintained by Zoological Park Foreman Denise Mitelli, who has for several years been growing a variety of vegetables and herbs that are used to provide nutrition and enrichment to the Zoo’s animals.

Herbs, for example, are used as supplemental enrichment for animals that enjoy aromatic stimulus as well as different flavors.

Recently, the harvest has been so bountiful that the wealth can be shared, on occasion, with our human visitors as well!

Our concessions stands will soon be incorporating cucumbers and herbs from the garden into their menu offerings, with hopes to continue the sharing as more crops develop. Crops harvested from the garden this year include tomatoes, squash, corn, green beans, carrots, beets, cayenne pepper, four types of basil, parsley, sage, oregano and thyme.


“We’re proud to be producing sustainable food from the Zoo garden’s harvest for both our animal residents and our visitors,” says Mitelli.

“We want visitors who may not usually see produce plants up close to see that anyone can do this in their own backyard and enjoy fresh organic produce throughout the summer.”

A pollinator garden with plants to attract monarch butterflies, bees and other insects that are crucial to the ecosystem is located next to the produce garden. This area of the Zoo is one of the most lush at this time of year, so be sure to stop by on your next visit!

Photos by Ceci Menchetti


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