The Utica Zoo announced openings for in person and virtual animal encounters through summer 2021 with a wide variety of options available. Due to unpredictable COVID-19 outbreaks, encounter dates have been released slowly to ensure visitors would be able to experience their encounter.

The most popular encounter at the Zoo is with the world-famous Red Pandas. The Zoo has announced dates available for booking through August 2021. Red Panda encounters are only available on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 2pm from a recommendation from The Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan. Additionally, dates for Bactrian Camel and Nigerian Dwarf Goat encounters are available through August.

The Zoo has also opened California Sea Lion and Call with the Wild virtual encounter dates through April and Ambassador Animal encounter dates through June. The variety of date openings are due to scheduling and logistical issues and will more dates will open in the near future.

The Zoo states “we are proud to offer a variety of in-person and virtual encounters at a variety of price points to ensure accessibility for all. Experiences such as animal encounters are a wonderful way to foster a sense of appreciation and love for animals on a more personal level.”

Booking availability for all encounters is available at All encounter dates are offered at a first come, first served basis and are subject to selling out.

The Utica Zoo and Gift Shop are open daily from 10am-4pm. For more information on this or anything else Utica Zoo related, visit or follow on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @UticaZoo.

By martha

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