Seneca Park Zoo is a 20-acre (6.3 ha) zoo located in Rochester, New York. The zoo is home to over 90 species, including mammals, reptiles, birds, amphibians, fish, and arachnids. It is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). The zoo is operated by Monroe County, with support from the Seneca Park Zoo Society. The zoo opened in 1894 in Seneca Park.
Seneca Park, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, is located on the border of the City of Rochester and the Town of Irondequoit, along the Genesee River. The park was opened in 1893, and animals started being displayed in 1894. The first significant addition to the zoo was the Main Zoo Building in 1931. The building was home to a wide variety of animals.
The Seneca Park Zoo Society was chartered as an educational institution by New York State in 1957. Since then, the Society has evolved into a non-profit organization that supports and promotes the zoo by running educational programs, special events, marketing, and public relations efforts, fundraising for in situ wildlife conservation, and food and gift operations. The Society offers memberships that are very popular with area families.
In 1975, a polar bear grotto was opened to house the zoo’s two polar bears (Penny and Nickels), who had been acquired using pennies and nickels collected by local school children. In 1993, the zoo opened the $2 million Genesee Trail and Discovery Center—its first landscape immersion exhibit. This was followed in 1997 by the $8.2 million Rocky Coasts exhibit.
The Rocky Coasts exhibit opened in 1997. It is an area dedicated to animals of the polar and temperate coastal regions of the world, including African penguins, California sea lions, snowy owls, Canada lynx, and sandhill cranes. The exhibit includes an underwater viewing area that places visitors close to the sea lions swimming behind large glass windows. Masai giraffe and plains zebra The Animals of the Savanna expansion opened in September 2018 and featured Masai giraffes, plains zebras, and more.
A Step Into Africa was unveiled in 2012. The exhibit includes a replica Maasai hut, a Dig Zone for uncovering casts of fossils, interactive learning tools, and a stationary safari bus from which the zoo’s African lions can be viewed. The area is home to the zoo’s African elephants, olive baboons, and African lions in naturalistic settings. Seneca Park Zoo in Rochester, NY is home to the first three African elephants in New York State.
The zoo’s animal collection changes periodically with AZA recommendations regarding breeding through the Species Survival Plans (SSPs), animal deaths, and births. The spring of 2013 proved fruitful at the zoo as it welcomed two African lion cubs, six African penguin chicks, one golden lion tamarin baby, three domestic goat kids, a California sea lion pup, and a Bornean orangutan baby. In 2018, Seneca Park Zoo began its multi-year Master Plan improvement. The first elements of a Cold Asia area opened next to the animal hospital in June, including new habitats for snow leopards and red pandas. In September 2018, the zoo opened a new African exhibit called Animals of the Savanna. The five-acre area includes Masai giraffes, plains zebras, a white rhino, naked mole rats, an aviary, and other smaller exhibits. EZ Rochester Junk Removal
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