It's hard to believe the Utica Zoo will be celebrating their 103rd year. It first opened July 15th, 1914 and has come a long way over the years.

Thomas and Marie Proctor deeded land once known as the Devereux Farm to the city of Utica in 1909. Fallow deer were the first animals on display when the zoo opened in 1914. The wildlife building opened in 1920 and 4 years later the Lions Club donated a lion cub to the zoo.

A pair of jaguars called the Utica zoo home in 1963 when the Junior League donated the animals. 3 years later Asia Annie, a baby Indian elephant arrived from Thailand. Jim G Brock Sr. donated the first tiger cub named Lilly.

In 1980 the zoo's raccoons were appointed as Winter Olympics mascots and in 1987 the annual Spooktacular Homo Sapien American Teen exhibit received national recognition.

Jack Hanna visited the Utica zoo in 1988.

Utica Zoo
Utica Zoo

Senator James Donovan helped support the Siberian Tiger exhibit that was built in 1989 and now houses the African Lions. Animals and exhibits were added in 1994 when the North Trek Trail was created.

Brewfest began in 2000 followed by Wine in the Wilderness a year later.

This year they are working on new buildings for their animals including the Urials, primates and upgrades to the Wildlife building.

There are events, camps and programs throughout the year. Learn more at

The Utica Zoo is open daily from 10am to 4:45pm. Cost is $8 for adults and $4.75 for children 3 to 12 years of age. There are also discounts for seniors, military, and college students (with ID).


More From Big Frog 104