What's New With the Zoo?

Has it been a while since you’ve been to the Utica Zoo? Do you want to know what projects we have going on around the zoo? Have you been here recently and wondered what all the construction you see is leading to? If so, then this is the page for you! Below you will find a list of projects that we have recently completed, currently have ongoing, and will have happening soon.

Recently Completed Projects:


New Red Panda - Khairo

In December 2023, we introduced our female Red Panda, Mei Lin, to a new male, Khairo. Did you know zoos play a crucial role in species conservation through programs like the Species Survival Plan and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums SAFE programs? The AZA Species Survival Plan is like a dating service for animals! By carefully selecting mates for breeding, we can ensure the genetic diversity and health of these incredible animals and contribute to the survival of species facing threats in the wild. Khairo and Mei Lin, will be part of this incredible conservation effort! 

New Otter Habitat

Our new Otter habitat was completed on 6/23/23. After our Sea Lions were moved to a different zoo in 2021, we began working on this new and improved habitat. While the Sea Lion pool was too small to fit new Sea Lions, it was the perfect size to be repurposed into this new Otter habitat. After adding some more land features, streamlining the water into more of a river as opposed to a pool, and adding a water slide, we were ready to welcome our otters: Lily and Briar. Come down to our Backyards & Barnyards section to pay them a visit and welcome them both to Utica! 

Upgraded Pallas's Cat Habitat

We are always seeking to improve the welfare of all of our animals here at the Utica Zoo, and so we monitor all of our animals daily to see what additions we can make. Our Pallas’s Cat Tate came to the zoo in 2019 and made his home in our Backyards & Barnyards section. However, over time we decided that Tate would be more comfortable with a more secluded habitat. So, after some work we managed to repurpose a habitat up on our North Trek hiking trail to make Tate an even better home. This improvement was completed in May 2023! 

New Ostriches

In Spring 2023, we welcomed 2 new female ostriches to the Utica Zoo! These two ladies quaranted in our Asian Realm section of the zoo until they were ready to be introduced to our male Ostrich Boomer which happened in the Fall. Their names – Ruby and Sapphire – were chosen by the public through voting. 

New Visitor Center

Our new visitor center was completed in April 2023 and has brought with it a bunch of new features including a better atrium, restrooms near the front of the zoo, an education classroom, an events space, an expanded gift shop and more! Next time you are at the zoo, be sure to look around our new entranceway because it is quite impressive! 

New Baby Gibbon - Dooku

On January 30, 2023, our gibbons Yoda and Snowflake welcomed a healthy, baby boy into their family: Dooku. While our gibbons spent a few months behind the scenes bonding, once the weather for the year got warmer, they began venturing outside. By the summer, Dooku has started to wander around more on his own and has proven to be a very adventurous soul with a BIG personality! 


Bounce Pillow Installation

We are always looking for new features to add to the zoo to make it an even better day out for our visitors. Over the past few years (due to being delayed by COVID-19), we have worked hard on securing and installing a bounce pillow on our grounds. This built-in trampoline will offer an additional attraction for visitors of all ages. It will be available for use at $5 per 12-minutes (season and weather dependent)!

New Concessionaire

For everyone who does not know, our concession stand is not operated by the zoo personally. Every year we sign on a concessionaire to take care of it’s operations. Unfortunately, we began the 2022 season without anyone officially signed on. However, we have been working hard to remedy that and we have finally secured someone for this year (and hopefully for many years to come). If you are from the Utica area then you may know them: Mohawk Valley Garden/Kookie’s Q. This company – run by Robert Esche – owns and operates Babe’s Macaroni Grill & Bar on Genesee St. in addition to concessions at the Utica Memorial Auditorium and other areas in Central New York. We are excited to work with them! This year they will be open daily from 11am until 4pm beginning 5/20/2023 through Labor Day weekend! 

Upgraded Red Fox Habitat

Over the past few months, we have worked on brining two new red foxes – Theo and Todd – to the Utica Zoo. They both finally arrived a few weeks ago and have been adjusting to their new home behind-the-scenes. In the meantime, our staff has worked diligently on updating our red fox habitat to make it more modern and engaging for our new foxes. It is now complete with a ton of new features that we are sure Theo and Todd will enjoy immensely. Our foxes were introduced to their new home between May and June of 2022. Further additions and updates were added in the beginning of 2023 to make it even better! 

Ongoing Projects:

New Australian Habitat

If you have been to the Utica Zoo in recent weeks, you will have noticed a large habitat next to our Wallabies that is under construction. While it used to function as a seasonal habitat for some Black Swans, we have decided to take things a step further. In order to provide more space for some of our current, year-round animals, we made the decision to upgrade the space so that it can include both of our Australian animals: Emu and Wallaby! This project is estimated to be completed in 2024!

Upcoming Projects:

New Red Panda Habitat

Red Pandas have always been a staple of the Utica Zoo. Our Red Panda habitat is one of our most popular exhibits and we want to make an even better one for the future! This new proposed Red Panda Exhibit will bring a four-season, multi-zone climate controlled habitat at the Utica Zoo with many new and convenient viewing angles for visitors. Additionally, this new exhibit will allow us to make encounters with a Red Panda all the more special!

Forever Forests Building Interior

After phase 1 of our “We Don’t Like It Either” campaign in 2016 which focused on making better homes for our primates, we will finally be moving forward with phase 2 of the project: overhauling the interior of the Forever Forests building to make it accessible to the public once again after years of being closed. We are excited to show you what we have planned and to finally let visitors set foot inside the building once more!

To help us with any of these projects or any future projects, consider donating to the zoo by clicking button below:


The Utica Zoo will be closed at 1:00pm on 6/1 for wine in the wilderness and will reopen with normal hours on 6/2!