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:

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. Theo was just introduced to his new home on 5/17 and Todd will follow suit in a few more weeks.

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! 

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 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 new 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! 

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 normally functions as a seasonal habitat for our 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 all 3 of our Australian animals: Emu, Wallaby, and Black Swan! There isn’t an official deadline as to when this project will be completed, but definitely stay tuned and bear with us as we upgrade your zoo and make it even better!

New Otter Habitat

While our sea lions have recently moved to new facilities leaving their pool empty, we have an exciting plan for it: otters are coming to the Utica Zoo! Currently estimated to open up in 2022, we are going to overhaul the old “sea lion pool” here on grounds, modernize it, and prep it for the arrival of some new, fuzzy faces. 

Upcoming Projects:

New Red Panda Habitat

Red Pandas have always been a staple of the Utica Zoo. In the past, our Red Panda habitat was 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:


Due to needing time to set up for our Wine in the Wilderness Event, on June 3rd the zoo will be closing to the public at 1pm! We will reopen our doors at 6pm for the event! Event tickets will still be purchasable at our gift shop during this time!