Snowy owls are here

Photo by Maddie Johnson

Photo by Maddie Johnson

You don’t have to be a seasoned bird watcher to notice snowy owls appearing in the skies around Rochester. Reports of these beautiful birds near Braddock’s Bay and the Lake Ontario shoreline at Charlotte and Summerville have been popping up all over Facebook and in the media. Just last week there was an article in the Democrat & Chronicle about this temporary influx though our area.

These gorgeous white spotted owls have migrated in this direction due to the large abundance of food available in this area. The Harry Potter series of books and movies brought attention to these birds as Harry’s pet owl, Hedwig. Kids everywhere suddenly decided they wanted an owl of their own. That is not something we would ever encourage, but we do have two resident snowy owls in our collection available for ZooParent Adoption.

Snowy owl ornamentYou can “adopt” an owl as part of our ZooParent program. Donations made through this program provide enrichment items that offer physical and mental stimulation to keep our animals healthy and strong! For as little as $30, you can adopt a snowy owl for one year and receive a personalized certificate, a fun fact sheet about the snowy owl, a matted 4”x 6” owl photo and see your name on our ZooParent Board  in the E.C.O. Center here at the Zoo. You will also receive an invitation to the annual ZooParent Party in September! In addition, as part of this special winter adoption package, you will receive an exclusive 2013 Snowy owl ornament!

There are many levels of ZooParent Adoption available. Please check out the list of benefits on our Web site or call the Member Office at (585) 336-7212.

Meanwhile, I hope you are lucky enough to spot one of these magnificent birds in the wild while they are here temporarily! If not, you can always see or adopt one here on your next visit to the Zoo!

- LaDonna Court, Membership Coordinator

Leave a comment

Filed under snowy owl, ZooParent

Holiday season at the Zoo!

As the seasons change and families prepare for the holidays, our Zoo hours, rates, member specials, programs, events and experiences are changing, too!

Gift certificateJust a reminder that November 1st through March 31st the gates open at 10 a.m. and close at 3 p.m. Visitors may stay on grounds until 4 p.m. Rest assured, our members will enjoy their benefit of entering the Zoo at 9:30 a.m. again next spring. However, their free admission benefit is a terrific savings all year long. Since general admission rates are discounted by $2 each in the off season, it’s a great time of year for members to bring guests. The Membership Booth will be closed during the off season so please visit the Admissions Booth daily and staff will assist you with any purchases, questions or concerns. The Zoo will be closed on Thanksgiving Day (gobble, gobble), Christmas Day (ho, ho, ho) and New Year’s Day (Happy 2014!). On the day after Thanksgiving (Nov. 29) as well as Christmas Eve (Dec. 24) and New Year’s Eve (Dec. 31), we offer ONE free youth admission with ONE paid adult admission. Again, these BOGO specials are one more reason to bring your holiday guests here and show off your Zoo’s adorable babies!

Since the holidays are upon us and many of you may be wondering what to give, we are pleased to offer Membership Gift Certificates at a $10 off discount. They are available for purchase at the Front Gate during Zoo hours, by phone at (585) 336-7212 or online. The lucky member family can active or renew their Zoo membership by simply redeeming the certificate. Give the gift of a Zoo this holiday season — it’s the gift that provides support for your local Zoo and year-round family fun!

DSC_4914

Photo by Kelli O’Brien

A popular activity, Book and Beast, is a member favorite. Join us at 11 a.m. each Wednesday (October through March) in the Z.O.T. Zone for a cuddly story and meet an animal from our education collection. This program is free with Zoo admission! Members shouldn’t delay registering for Breakfast with Santa. Sessions in December are filling up very quickly. Kids will enjoy a continental breakfast in a unique setting, meet with Santa and visit our fascinating creatures. And last, but not least, a cold weather day is a great time to experience a brisk walk through the Zoo; stop for hot chocolate at the Café and witness how active our animals can be as they explore the Zoo’s winter smells and sounds.

Enjoy the winter activities, programs, events and the changing seasons with your family and friends at the Seneca Park Zoo. Please pay special attention to our off season hours, rates and specials. And happy holidays!

- Natalie Lipton, Visitor Services Manager

Leave a comment

Filed under Book and Beast, gift certificates, membership, special offers, winter

Rain or shine, it’s trick-or-treat time!

Photo by Treva Walker

Photo by Treva Walker

Our Halloween fundraiser, ZooBoo, continues rain or shine at Seneca Park Zoo! Enjoy Merry-Not-Scary family activities from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. this weekend and next (Oct. 19, 20, 26 & 27). Activities are indoors or under tents for your family’s convenience.

Photo by Kathy Tedford

Photo by Kathy Tedford

Mascots and costumed characters will greet children as they enter the Zoo and provide wonderful photo opportunities. Our dedicated volunteers will distribute candy, trinkets and healthy snacks at 15 stations and offer a terrific prize before they exit. Inside the E.C.O. Center we offer a raffle and docents with touch tables. Our animals will get their own treats at designated times … look for signs throughout the Zoo.

The cost is as follows: Tickets for trick-or-treaters are $8 each and may be purchased at the Zoo’s Front Gate during the event. Non-members must also pay regular Zoo admission in addition to the $8 event fee. Whatever the weather, the ZooBoo experience is guaranteed to be spooktacular!

- Karen Panosian, Visitor Services Director

Leave a comment

Filed under ZooBoo

Grandparents Day was so grand!

What a beautiful day it was on Sunday, September 8th. The sun was shining and the air was cool and calm. What a perfect day to celebrate Grandparents Day outdoors. What a wonderful opportunity for young and old to spend time together at the Zoo. I was so pleased to see more than 650 Grandparent level members and their grandchildren take advantage of our special event!

Members at the Grandparent, Grandparent PLUS, Penguin Circle or Special Friend levels were invited to attend our exclusive Grandparents Day event with their grandchildren. The festivities, activities and giveaways were available under the Event Tent near our Tiger Exhibit. These families went from station to station to enjoy a snack, beverage and free raffle. Other stations offered grandchildren an animal magnet craft, temporary tattoos, a chance to play a “stick the spot on the snow leopard” game or wrote a note to one of our Zoo babies. New this year, Docents manned a touch table station that engaged kids of all ages with educational items like polar bear fur and skulls. After exiting the Event Tent with their giveaway prizes, families went on to experience encore presentations of our Summer Programs.

Photos by Kelli O’Brien

The Event Tent activities were an exclusive benefit for our members at the levels mentioned above. It is one of the ways we say thank you to “our” grandparents for being Zoo members and bringing the youngest in their family to visit the Zoo. Membership allows multiple generations to learn together about animals and their habitats. If you would like more information about Zoo membership for grandparents and how you can take part in this special event next year, please call the Member Office at (585) 336-7212, ask about it at the Zoo’s Front Gate during regular hours or click here.

This past Sunday was a grand day for young and old. We hope to see you and many more grandchildren at the Zoo next year on the first Sunday after Labor Day for this national holiday!

- Lisa Buda, Membership Coordinator

Leave a comment

Filed under grandparents day, membership, Summer Programs

Boo! It’s almost that time again!

Zoo Boo Final 2Autumn is one of my favorite seasons. It hard to believe school will be starting soon and our thoughts will turn to delicious apple cider and beautiful changing leaves. It is also the time of year when we hold for our annual fundraiser, ZooBoo!

Photo by Matthew Burroughs

Photo by Matthew Burroughs

This Merry-Not-Scary Halloween event is an opportunity for children to trick-or-treat during the day in a unique setting. Plan to bring your youngsters in costume or coordinate costumes for your whole family! The trick-or-treating stations will offer candy or trinkets — there will be 15 stations in all. After trick-or-treating, each participating child will receive a prize as they exit the Zoo. However, ZooBoo is not just about trick-or-treating. We also stress orangutan conservation and the importance of preserving their habitat by offering palm oil-free candy. In addition to supporting this important cause, each of the materials distributed at the event (trick-or-treat bags, maps and guides) will be recyclable. There will be mascots, chances to win prizes and even our popular Zoo residents will enjoy their own animal treats at designated times!

Photo by Kelli O'Brien

Photo by Kelli O’Brien

ZooBoo is once again being held on three weekends. It is scheduled during regular Zoo hours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on October 12, 13, 19, 20, 26and 27. It is open to everyone, but our members can take advantage of extra savings by buying pre-sale tickets. By purchasing these trick-or-treating tickets now through 4 p.m. on Sunday, October 6 our members can save $2 each on trick-or-treating tickets. The pre-sale member tickets are only $6 per trick-or-treater. The day of the event, the ZooBoo tickets are $8 per trick-or-treater.  Members who are accompanying trick-or-treaters, like adults and infants, are admitted free. All non-members must pay Zoo admission and the trick-or-treating fee. Membership has its benefits.

If you are a current Seneca Park Zoo member, you may purchase your pre-sale tickets by calling the Member Office at (585) 336-7212, purchasing online at or purchasing tickets at the Zoo’s Front Gate during regular Zoo hours. Again, these are only available through 4 p.m. on Sunday, October 6th.  After that, trick-or-treating tickets are available for $8 each on the days of the event. ZooBoo is held rain or shine. Because it is a Zoo fundraiser, pre-sale tickets are non-refundable.  Pre-sale tickets are not date specific, so they can be used on any ZooBoo day.

I’m excited about the upcoming change of season and gearing up for our October fundraiser. Our members should watch their mailbox in September for a postcard with details about this Halloween event. They should make a point to buy pre-sale tickets and save! We hope you’ll plan to make ZooBoo part of your family’s autumn activities!

- Ruth Northrop, Data Manager

2 Comments

Filed under ZooBoo

Let’s go to another Zoo!

ZOO LOGO BWYour Seneca Park Zoo membership helps make summertime travel more affordable and fun. There are more than 170 zoos and aquariums which our Zoo members can visit either for free or 50% off admission. What a great way to add something extra into your summer vacation!

Regionally, your Seneca Park Zoo membership card gives you 50% off at the Buffalo Zoo or Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse. Or, if you are headed to see Niagara Falls, add a free visit to the Aquarium of Niagara, within walking distance on the American side of the Rainbow Bridge.

Lowry Park ZooTraveling across the nation? Click here for a list of other facilities participating through reciprocal agreements. Click on the orange Membership Tab, click on “Reciprocal list” on the green panel to the left side and then look for the state and city you plan to visit. The name of the facility and their agreement with us for admission is noted on the right side of the list. How easy!

Please remember to take your current member card and photo ID with you when you travel, since other organizations do not have access to our database to verify your current membership with us. However, if you arrive there and realize you do not have your card with you, simply call our Member Office at (585) 336-7212, and we can either speak to their staff or e-mail you a verification letter to show at their Front Gate. We recommend contacting the zoo you plan to visit in advance to verify they will accept our member card.  Admission to another facility is up to the discretion of the other facility. It is not our choice. In addition, occasionally changes are made during the year. We make every effort to keep our list updated.

Take advantage of all the fun learning and recreational opportunities when traveling by visiting another facility on your summer vacation. You can’t beat the benefits and discounts when you are a Seneca Park Zoo member!

- LaDonna Court, Membership Coordinator

Leave a comment

Filed under membership, reciprocity

A special add-on for nannies and babysitters

Photo by Kristen Rogers

Photo by Kristen Rogers

What can our members do if their children want to visit the Zoo while being cared for by a nanny or babysitter? What if the member’s kids want to see the lions, but the parent is unavailable, busy or at work? For example, a Household Basic level membership is a great value at only $85, but it only includes up to two named adults living in the household listed on the cards and all the children in the household age 21 years and younger. If someone cares for the Zoo member’s children on a regular basis and those children want to visit their favorite Zoo rhino or elephant, what do we offer? What option do we have for working families? How can these member children visit the Zoo as often as they would like for free?

We recommend that member families add a Caregiver level membership. For only $30 each, this level is an add-on to a family membership. This level (we allow members to purchase up to 2) is for a named babysitter, caregiver or nanny who may bring a member’s children to the Zoo. The “caregiver” receives his or her own member card with their specific name. This add-on level is linked to the family’s main membership. The Caregiver member card is sent to the member family within 7 to 10 days of purchase. To receive free admission with the member’s children, all the babysitter needs to do is remember to bring and show their Zoo member card with their name on it and a photo ID at the Front Gate. Again, the two memberships are linked in our database. This link gives the caregiver and the member’s children free admission and access to the Zoo’s Member Express Check-In on busy summer days. It’s a wonderful convenience for your family!

DSC_4497

Photo by Kelli O’Brien

Caregiver members enjoy many of the same perks as our regular Zoo members. Caregivers and the member’s children may enter the Zoo early (at 9:30 a.m.) from April 1 through October 31.  They can receive the 10% discount on purchases in our ZooShop. Caregivers may also visit many of the reciprocal zoos or aquariums and receive a discounted admission rate. As with regular memberships, we always recommend checking with the other facility in advance for their unique policy. The membership is paid for by the member family and is designed for the specific caregiver to visit with that member’s children. Therefore, we (and many other organizations) do not allow a caregiver to visit without the member’s children. Please note that this is designed for a specific individual who cares for one family’s children, NOT for a daycare provider who cares for the children of multiple families.

A Caregiver level membership may be added at any time of year and at any point during a family’s membership cycle! Our Zoo staff will pro-rate the price of the Caregiver level membership so that it will coincide with the main membership’s expiration date. This makes renewal of both levels more convenient the following year.  If your nanny or babysitter changes during the membership period, we can change the name on the Caregiver member card at no charge.

Nannies and sitters with this special add-on feature are part of our Zoo family! Purchase a Caregiver level membership and give the adult who cares for your children regularly the ability to visit the Seneca Park Zoo with your children for free all year long. It is also a terrific savings, since summer adult admission rates are $11 each and can add up quickly. But most importantly, your children will thank you!

- Natalie Lipton, Visitor Services Manager

Leave a comment

Filed under membership, membership add-ons