It’s the time of the year to look forward to the annual Holiday Hoot at the Utica Zoo, and the zoo also will mark the season with some age-specific educational programs for children.
• The zoo’s Holiday Hoot event will be Dec. 8.
“Great for all ages, the day includes many activities perfect for the winter holiday season,” according to the zoo.
New this year will be a “Breakfast with Santa” program, with seatings available from 9-10:30 a.m. or 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. The menu will include pancakes, scrambled eggs, sausage, fruit, juice, milk, coffee, plus “of course Santa,” the zoo said.
Pre-sale tickets for the breakfast are required. Visit eventbrite.com/e/breakfast-with-santa-at-holiday-hoot-tickets-51890562068 for event details and to buy tickets.
In addition, from 1-3 p.m. during the Holiday Hoot, guests will be able to participate in crafts, story time, and animal meet and greets in the auditorium. Free hot drinks, cookies and candy canes will be served.
Attendees also can stop by the Gift Shop where they can shop for people on their lists, or purchase an enrichment item for one of the animals. People also can bring gifts for zoo animals and zookeepers from the zoo wish list at uticazoo.org/wishlist or buy a special Animal Adoption Box.
The zoo overall will be open from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Visit uticazoo.org online.
• A Winter Zoo Adventures STEM Academy educational program on snowflakes will be Nov. 29 from 10:30-11:30 a.m. in the zoo auditorium. It is geared for ages 3-5. STEM refers to science, technology, engineering, math.
“Did you know that no two snowflakes are the same? The same can be said about the stripes and spots on many animals. Come to see how animals use those spots and stripes to blend into their habitat,” said the zoo regarding the program.
• “Making tracks” is the theme of a Winter Zoo Adventures STEM Academy educational program on Dec. 13 from 10:30-11:30 a.m. in the zoo auditorium, also geared for ages 3-5.
“Join us at the zoo as we follow some animal tracks and see what kind of animals were walking around the zoo at night. Make a track book to take home with you,” said the zoo’s description of the program.
• A Hatchling Preschool Exploration Stations program on “At Home in a Tree” will be Dec. 14 from 10:30-11:30 a.m. in the zoo auditorium. It is for preschool-age children.
“Join us as we transform our classroom into an exploration center just for your toddler. Each session will have themed activities, discovery stations, and new animals to meet,” the zoo said.
Pre-registration is required for the Hatchling and Winter Zoo Adventures programs. For more information, or to register a child, contact Mary Hall at firstname.lastname@example.org or (315) 738-0472 ext. 26.
The zoo overall is open on all but two days a year from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., and is closed only on Thanksgiving day and Christmas day.