Fort Rickey opens for 45th season Saturday

Published May 19, 2017 at 4:00pm

Young children and their families will have a chance to express their wild sides when Fort Rickey Children’s Discovery Zoo opens for the season Saturday. They will have the chance to view and interact with wild animals from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

“In my 39 years of doing this, and Fort Rickey’s 45 years in business, it has been all about the connection between children and wildlife,” Fort Rickey owner and director Len Cross said.

“We look for the big belly laughs from kids, or the chance to have them ask perceptive questions of our staff,” Cross added.

The zoo is located at 5135 Rome-New London Road and will be open through the end of October.

During the spring season, May 20 through June 16, the hours are 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. They may be reached at 315-336-1930 or

Fort Rickey features animals from all six habitable continents and a number of local wild animals.

Cross said these animals add to the fun of the visit and fun is an integral part of wildlife

“I came here after serving as curator at a museum in Newfoundland in 1978, and I’ve always seen the value of the entertainment aspect of the zoo business,” Cross said.

“Not everyone would admit that, but it’s a good way to stimulate curiosity in the future zookeepers and conservationists who visit us,” he said.

During the summer season, June 17 through Sept. 4, the zoo is open from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. In September, the zoo is open on weekends from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.

The zoo’s Fall Fun Festival is held on weekends from Sept. 23 through Oct. 29 from 10 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

Admission rates are $9.95 for adults over 16, $7.95 for children aged two to 15 and those under two years will be admitted for free.

Admission is $6 per person during the Fall Fun Festival, and wagon and pony rides are $2.50 each.

The daily show schedule includes maternity ward cuddling at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.; snake petting at noon and 2 p.m.; a wolf or eagle owl show at 2:30 p.m. and the otter feeding show at 4:30 p.m.