Families have been visiting the Utica Zoo for more than a century.

The land it is located on was donated by Thomas R. Proctor in 1909.

“He had a dream that a park could do as much for South Utica as Central Park was doing for New York City,” said Executive Director Andria Heath. “He hired a famous landscape architect, Frederick Law Omstead, who had designed Central Park, to plan the roads and scenic walkways in Roscoe Conkling Park.”

In 1914, 80 acres were set aside for the formation of a zoo. In the early days, the Utica Zoo had just three fallow deer. Today, it houses more than 200 animals – Heath said that many of them can be found on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species – including wallabies, beavers, African lions, mountain zebras, lynxes, red foxes, and spider monkeys.

And the winter months are a great time visit.

“Many of our animals actually prefer the winter weather/colder temperatures and are more active during this time,” said Heath. “Some, like our Bactrian camels, even physically adapt to the weather changes by growing different types of fur for different seasons. And, when conditions allow, we also have a snowshoe trail that winds past animal exhibits, with snowshoe rentals available.”

If You Go

Utica Zoo
Where: 1 Utica Zoo Way, Utica.
When: Daily from 10a.m.-4:30 p.m. (except Thanksgiving, Christmas).
Admission: $8/adults (13-61); $7/seniors (62+), military, college students; $5/children (2-12); free/ages 1 and under.
More information: uticazoo.org.




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Courtney Kless is the Editor in Chief of Family Times. Courtney is originally from Maryland. She earned her Master’s degree in Magazine, Newspaper and Online Journalism from Syracuse University. Courtney began her career as a sports journalist, then spent several years working in higher education, before joining the company in August 2019. She enjoys traveling, reading and hiking, and recently adopted a Labrador Retriever, Bailey.

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