Utica Zoo announces openings for animal encounters

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UTICA — The Utica Zoo has openings for both 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 Utica Zoo is with its red pandas. Red panda encounters are only available on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 2 p.m. from a recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan. Dates are available through August. Additionally, dates for encounters with the bactrian camel and Nigerian dwarf goats 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 more dates will open in the near future.

“We are proud to offer a variety of in-person and virtual encounters at a variety of price points to ensure accessibility for all,” the zoo announcement said. “Experiences such as animal encounters are a wonderful way to foster a sense of appreciation and love for animals on a more personal level.”

Bookings for all encounters is available at UticaZoo.org/encounters. 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 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, go online to http://uticazoo.org.

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