The only thing harder than getting an appointment for a Coronavirus vaccination is finding an open time slot to experience the animal encounters at the Utica Zoo. Act fast, the Zoo just announced new dates for the summer of 2021.

The uncertainty surrounding the pandemic had Zoo officials slowly announcing new dates. But now with the outlook becoming clearer new dates for both in person and virtual animal encounters are being announced. Here are the options available.

Call With the Wild is a virtual encounter with two animals of your choosing. The encounter can be done as a group of family and friends or as part of a work conference call. The experience usually lasts about ten to fifteen minutes with a staff member introducing the animals and encouraging them to move around using treats.

In Person Encounters involve meeting the animal in an intimate setting inside their exhibit and feeding them. Encounters vary by the animal, for instance the Red Panda encounter is just for two people, but Sea Lion encounters can include up to five people, and Camel encounters can accommodate four guests. There are also encounters with the Dwarf Goats and the Ambassador Animals that include your choice of reptiles, birds, mammals, amphibians, and insects.

Most of the in person encounters last for about thirty minutes, but are dependent on the animal's mood. You can get the specifics on each encounter, open dates and even book an encounter on the Utica Zoo's website.

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