Utica Zoo unveils “The Excitement is Building!” Primate Exhibit Campaign

Utica Zoo unveils “The Excitement is Building!” Primate Exhibit Campaign

At a press conference inside the currently under construction Primate Building, the Utica Zoo announced their next Zoo Improvement Campaign titled “The Excitement is Building!”

This next phase of the overall “Dream Big” Master Plan will bring a newly designed outdoor ‘Living Rainforest’ for the Zoo’s White Handed Gibbons and a newly designed outdoor ‘Living Rainforest’ for the Zoo’s Spider Monkeys, as well as significant upgrades and renovations to the interior, roof, and visitor viewing and keeper areas.

The renovations mark the first time since 1988 that this area of the Primate Building will be utilized as public exhibit space.

“The footprint we are unveiling today clearly describes the transition from ‘We Don’t like it Either,’ our 2016 fundraising campaign to begin the construction project, to ‘The Excitement is Building,'” said Executive Director Andria Heath. “The elements of design of the new exhibits, including the natural setting, overall size, materials utilized, visitor experience and viewing area are not only different from the methodology the zoo was capable of utilizing in the past, but sets the expectation for exhibit design for the future of the Utica Zoo.”

The overall project is expected to cost approximately $3.13 million:

  • Project underway: $913,000
  • Spider monkey exhibit expansion: $1,116,000
  • Interior white-handed gibbon exhibit and general building improvements: $987,000
  • Grand entrance and observation treehouse: $100,000
  • New roof: $20,000

To launch this phase of “The Excitement is Building” Campaign, two donors have come forward with challenge funds. The initial 2016 campaign was sparked by a $25,000 challenge by an anonymous donor in memory of a ‘remarkable man,’ which was met. The same source is repeating a challenge grant for this initiative.

Additionally, local benefactor to the Utica Zoo, Dr. Kenneth Murphy, has also pledged $50,000 to be matched. The combined challenges require the full $75,000 in donations to be received prior to Oct. 31.

“The Utica Zoo attracts many visitors from the region and beyond while also providing a fun, safe and educational space for families and others to spend time together and to learn about some of the animals that inhabit our planet,” said state Sen. Joseph A. Griffo (R, I, C – Rome). “I had the pleasure of securing funding to help with renovations and other upgrades at the zoo so that it can continue to grow. I am excited to see these projects progress and am optimistic about what the future might hold for the Utica Zoo.”

“On behalf of the Utica Zoo Board of Directors, we are appreciative of the initial contributions from all, large and small, who have provided the groundwork to get this far in the exhibit for the white-handed gibbons,” said board President Robert B. Jubenville, Ph.D. “We look forward to thanking, with gratitude, those who will step forward to generously support this next phase for the Mexican spider monkeys and other species from the Living Rainforest whose stories of conservation and preservation need to be told.”

To learn more about the new campaign and to donate to the cause, visit UticaZoo.org/donate. To stay up to date on all things Utica Zoo, visit UticaZoo.org, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram @UticaZoo.

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