Seneca Park Zoo puts on a Party for the Planet

Taking place this Saturday, April 18 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. free with Zoo admission, Party for the Planet is the Zoo’s way of celebrating Earth Day, in conjunction with 100 other Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited institutions. Since 1970, when the first Earth Day materialized out of emerging public consciousness, participants have brought attention to the need for a more sustainable future. 45 years later, events like Seneca Park Zoo’s Party for the Planet celebrate the importance of all the systems on our planet and the importance of how they are interconnected.

Photo by Kelli O'Brien

Photo by Kelli O’Brien

Party for the Planet continues the good work to transform the United States from a place where industry belches out black smoke into our atmosphere and generally underestimates the impact of freely sending pollution into our water, air and food systems into a nation with a growing sustainable energy industry, regular habitat cleanups and restorations and more attention to the value of a healthy environment.

Photo by Kelli O'Brien

Photo by Kelli O’Brien

Seneca Park Zoo docents have worked hard to bring you five separate stations that will help you explore the importance of a healthy ecosystem for the animals they represent, to be found throughout the Zoo during Party for the Planet. This year our docents will share with you what they know about:

  • Orangutans – Orangutans live in the vitally important jungle ecosystems of Southeast Asia. Seneca Park Zoo supports Health in Harmony both monetarily and with boots on the ground.  Stop by this station to see orangutan bio-facts and talk with our docents about this great project.
  • Rhinos – Bill, our Southern White Rhino represents animals under attack in Africa. Our Bowling for Rhinos event has donated more than $30,000 which directly supports LEWA Wildlife Conservancy and other rhino sanctuaries. Talk to docents at this station about how you can help.
  • Otters and Sturgeon – Your Zoo has released thousands of sturgeon in the Genesee River and is committed to releasing many more thousands in the future. The heath of the Genesee River is vitally important to us all. Learn more about the Zoo’s role in otter and sturgeon re-introductions at this table.
  • Penguins – Seneca Park Zoo is a leader in African Penguin breeding. With more than 90 chicks hatched, we drive penguin conservation through donating and supporting SANNCOBB in South Africa. This table will provide lots more information about this great program.
  • Elephants – Our support of the International Elephant Foundation directly funds conservation efforts throughout the natural range of African Elephants. Learn more here about the Zoo’s elephant programs at this docent table.
Photo by Kelli O'Brien

Photo by Kelli O’Brien

In addition to our docent-led stations, we have some great local organizations on site to talk with you about their wonderful work to support a healthy environment.

  • The Audubon Society will have a station to spread their mission of protecting the environment with a focus on birds, wildlife and habitat.
  • Monroe County Parks will be on grounds from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. to discuss rain gardens.
  • Center for Environmental Initiatives (CEI) will have a station showing video and talking about its work and the importance of the Genesee River.
  • Diamond Packaging, a new partner with the Zoo, will have a station focusing on their sustainability vision. They will also be giving away saplings to the first 150 people that stop by their booth.

The Seneca Park Zoo Society is also proud to be a sponsor of the Fast Forward Film Festival, which is holding its Green Carpet Gala and Screening on Saturday night at George Eastman House, a great way to end a day of raising awareness of the fragility of our earth.


– Tom Snyder, Interpretation Coordinator

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Throw a “Welcome Home” party for monarchs

The annual migration of the monarch butterfly back to the U.S. is getting started right now, and what’s astonishing is that these same butterflies that are making their way back to the U.S. are the same ones that left all the way back in September. Since then, they have had an extended vacation, resting in the trees in special locations throughout Mexico.

As the migration begins, this generation of butterflies will stop in Texas, where the female monarchs will then lay their eggs and die away. Around the end of June, the “grandchildren” of the monarchs leaving Mexico will arrive here in Rochester.

Photo by Kelli O'Brien

Photo by Kelli O’Brien

Let’s throw them a “Welcome Home” party! Make our butterfly guests comfortable and have all of their favorite snacks on hand: plenty of nectar plants like echinacea (cone flower), monarda, and sedum but most importantly, milkweed.

This is the perfect time to start planning your garden, starting seeds or visiting your local garden store to get all of your party supplies.

Once you have your party set, take a picture of your garden and share it with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #partyformonarchs. Be sure to tag @SenecaParkZoo so we can see all your gardens!

We look forward to seeing all of your gardens as you help celebrate and conserve these amazing animals.

For more information about monarchs, butterfly gardens or our Butterfly Beltway project, contact Tim at


– Tim Fowler, Outreach Coordinator

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Teen Night at Seneca Park Zoo: Saturday, April 18

Where can your teen find friends, food, music and unique close-up experiences with amazing animals? The first ever Teen Night at Seneca Park Zoo will have it all.

Drop your teen and his or her friends off at the Zoo from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday April 18 for a rare opportunity to explore the Zoo at night. Our teen club, the ZooTeen Leaders, has prepared a jam-packed event.

A Zoo-wide scavenger hunt with prizes will be open throughout the night, and Zoo keepers will talk with teens and provide animal experiences at the snow leopard and tiger enclosures.

ZooTeen Leaders will also be handling animals from our education animal collection so your teen can get an up-close and personal look.


The Eagle’s Landing Café and Zoo Shop will be open for teens interested in purchasing food or “Zoo”venirs. A drawing will be held at the end of the night with chances to take home many great prizes.

A meerkats experience will also be available for teens to purchase and create treats for these inquisitive creatures.

Staff will be positioned throughout the Zoo at exhibits and along pathways for supervision. A cell number will be provided to registrants to reach the event coordinator in case of emergency.

Discounted pre-sale tickets are available now.

– Anneke Nordmark, Youth and School Groups Program Coordinator

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ZooTeen Leaders create short films promoting conservation

How do you share an important message in five minutes or less?

Seneca Park Zoo’s ZooTeen Leaders rose to the occasion by creating eight short films to share the conservation work the Zoo does and explain how others can help protect animals in nature.

Creating these short films was a Zoo-wide effort. Zoo Society Director Pamela Reed Sanchez spoke with teens regarding the purpose of zoos and the conservation work happening at Seneca Park Zoo.

Teens also heard from guest speakers about various conservation topics and worked with area filmmakers, who provided advice for writing scripts and crafting short films.

And many zoo keepers supported the teen film-making projects by taking up-close footage of our animals.


Smiling ZooTeens at a 2014 event.


ZooTeen Leaders’ films were entered in the Fast Forward Film Festival, a local short film festival encouraging submissions that compel audiences to engage with the community and raise environmental awareness.

Join the Zoo team at the festival screening! Get tickets here.

– Anneke Nordmark, Youth and School Groups Program Coordinator

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It’s Camp Season!

Remember what summer was like? If you’re having some trouble, let this ZooCamp 2014 slideshow remind you what it’s like to be outside having fun!

It might be hard to imagine right now, but summer is coming and believe it or not, it’s time to think about Summer Camp!

ZooCamp registration is underway and this year we are excited to be offering more camps than ever before.

For the first time ever, we are offering camp weeks for preschool campers in July and August! We also have eight full weeks of options for our 5 & 6 and 7 & 8 year-old campers, with lots of new, fun themes like Wonders of Water and Feeding Frenzy.

For our 9 & 10 year-old campers, we have added exciting new conservation-based camps like Protecting Pollinators and Wildlife Heroes to get your campers actively involved in helping wildlife.

And for the oldest campers, Zoo Research and Animal Training 101 camps will give 11 & 12 year-olds a chance to try some hands-on techniques used by Zoo employees to discover if they would like to have a future career at a Zoo. There’s something for everyone!

Find more info and register here.

– Emily Coon-Frisch, Manager of Program Development

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We’re all in this together

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Our Butterfly Beltway Program plants gardens that encourage butterfly conservation.

The Seneca Park Zoo may be a place for animals, fun and family but it is also a place for conservation education.  We are active in a variety of conservation projects, like our commitment to protect butterflies through our Butterfly Beltway Project. Our work reaches around the nation, with our participation in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP), and around the earth, as we work to protect Bornean orangutans through our partnership with Health in Harmony.  These are a small sampling of the conservation projects in which we take part. You can see more of what we do here.

Our otters are expert recyclers. Photo by Kelli O'Brien.

Our otters are expert recyclers. Photo by Kelli O’Brien.

Since we are all in this together, conserving the environment and protecting animals begins with what we do at home every day. Here are some easy things you can do at home to help animals and the environment:

  • Plant a butterfly or pollinator garden
  • Plant native trees
  • Put up a bat box or bird nesting box
  • Use a rain barrel to collect water to water your garden
  • Organize or participate in a litter cleanup
  • Recycle your electronic waste
  • Compost
  • Donate to conservation organizations like Seneca Park Zoo

We would love to hear what you are doing around your own home or in your community to help preserve this wonderful planet. Share your story here. After all, we are all in this together.

– Tim Fowler, Outreach Coordinator

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Experience the real thing at the Zoo


Photos by Kelli O’Brien

Our school program calendar is filling up for spring, so now is a great time to book your field trip. Students will meet animals from the habitats they study, delve deeper into conservation issues they read about or gather information to enhance their school projects.

Our teacher’s guide is brimming with programs. We’ve also developed new programs on frogs, biomes and wolves. If you don’t see a perfect match for your curriculum please reach out so we can collaborate to create something new. Contact me via e-mail at or call (585) 336-7394.

– Anneke NordmarkYouth and School Groups Program Manager

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