Category Archives: membership

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!


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


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

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

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Filed under grandparents day, membership, Summer Programs

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

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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!


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

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Filed under membership, membership add-ons

Exclusive breakfast for our special members

Penguin CircleMore than 370 higher level members and their guests took advantage of a beautiful Saturday morning at the Penguin Circle Event on Saturday, July 13. One of the many extra benefits for being a member at this level, this gathering is also a way for us to say thank you to those who provide additional support for the Zoo!

With an 8 a.m. check-in time, we opened at the gate at 7:45 a.m. to give the “early birds” a head start. All attendees enjoyed a hot, tasty buffet breakfast at the Eagle’s Landing Café and Pavilion. Families were encouraged to sign up to win the free raffle basket and have their children stop at the temporary tattoo station and take-home goodie bag table. After breakfast, our education department and zoo keeper staffs provided a special white rhinoceros demonstration and talk. This was a wonderful opportunity to learn more about this species and to ask questions of those who care for Roscoe and Bill every day. Tina Fess, one of our dedicated and knowledgeable keepers, loves to share information about the animals in her charge. She noted that the name “white” comes from the Dutch words “wijd” or “weit,” meaning wide and refers to their wide, square shaped upper lip. Tina noted that the rhino’s horn is made of material similar to our fingernails. Young and old appreciated her fun facts!

Photos by Kelli O’Brien

After the demonstration, these higher level members experienced the rest of Zoo at their leisure. What a great way to start the day! We were happy to see so many smiling faces this year and would welcome more in 2014. Anyone interested in attending next year’s Penguin Circle Morning Event should join or upgrade to this level of Zoo membership. We send invitations each June, since the event takes place yearly in July. Please call the Member Office at (585) 336-7212 and I or my coworkers will be happy to answer your questions.

As always, we ask attendees to complete a survey about their event experience. It may have been an exclusive breakfast, but the feedback so far is that the atmosphere was fun and entertaining for families. Please consider being a member at this higher level today!

– Lisa Buda, Membership Coordinator

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Filed under membership, Penguin Circle

There’s so much to do at your Zoo!

Have you ever attended a docent event? This Saturday, July 20 is the Wonders of Water event and all aspects are coordinated by docents, our dedicated volunteer educators. Stop by the various stations throughout the Zoo and learn more about how water and Zoo animals are connected. This event is free with Zoo admission. If you are a Zoo member, admission is free for you that day and all year long! So take advantage of this and other free docent events throughout the year. We’re also celebrating a 47th birthday for our female king vulture from 1 to 3 p.m. that day, too!

Photo by Vasiliy Baziuk

Photo by Vasiliy Baziuk

Did you know Jungle Jog is fast approaching? Join us on Sunday, July 21 for this long-standing fundraiser that takes runners of all ages and abilities through beautiful lower Seneca Park and past the Zoo’s animals! The last day to register online is today (July 17). You may also register by phone and in person by 5 p.m. Friday, July 19. Final pre-registration, along with race number and T-shirt pickup will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Medved Running and Walking Outfitters (3400 Monroe Avenue). Click here for complete details on Jungle Jog.

Visit the Zoo on Saturday and learn about animals and water or run along with others who support the Zoo at our early morning fundraiser on Sunday. There’s just so much to do!

– Ruth Northrop, Data Manager

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Filed under animal birthdays, docent events, Jungle Jog, membership

Outside reps go out of their way to help!

Photo by Kelli O'Brien

Photo by Kelli O’Brien

When walking up to the Front Gate, you may have noticed people in blue shirts, clipboards in hand, mingling with visitors waiting to enter the Zoo. These are our Outside Visitor Service Representatives. They are there to welcome you and ensure that your visit is pleasant from the moment you arrive. These knowledgeable staff members can answer questions from “Where is the nearest bathroom?” to “How much are dues for a membership that allows guests?”

They are trained to help our members complete a renewal form or obtain information about promotions, corporate member discounts or reciprocal zoos. These energetic reps can also act as our Member Express Check-In Staff, so our members should be sure to have a valid member card and photo ID ready and take advantage of this benefit of entering quickly!

As part of the Front Gate Team, these employees are trained to monitor heavy visitor traffic flow on busy attendance days. They can help visitors get into the correct line for general admission or membership and then move through that line as quickly and safely as possible. While some families choose to pay general admission, these reps can provide information about the value and benefits of Zoo membership. Again, they can assist with choosing the level that meets their needs and completing their form before they reach a cashier’s window.

In May and June, many teachers make reservations for their class to visit the Zoo. Some of our Outside Visitor Service reps are assigned to safely unload and load school buses, while others are assigned to handle the crowds of these students’ family members that gather in the Front Gate’s entryway. In the summer season, staff may even be stationed at the Zoo’s Exit Gate to ask members and visitors to take part in a survey about their Zoo experience or plans to become or remain a Zoo member.

As you can see, the duties and responsibilities of these dedicated seasonal employees are varied and vital to operations at the Zoo. So be sure to stop and say “Hello” to our Outside Visitor Service reps when visiting the Zoo. They will go out of their way to make you feel welcome, keep you informed and ensure your admission interactions are as fast and efficient as possible … all so you can begin your enjoyable Zoo visit!

– Natalie Lipton, Visitor Services Manager

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Filed under member team, membership