Onondaga County Parks

Zoo Celebrates Banner Year, Looks Ahead to Coming Attractions

01/14/2013 -

In a year of unprecedented births, the Rosamond Gifford Zoo also broke several attendance records in 2012. Total visitation to the facility was 372,139—the highest total attendance at the zoo in more than 15 years, and an 8.3 percent increase over 2011.

The zoo experienced attendance highs in February, March, May and August with monthly attendance totals not seen in more than a decade.  

2012 attendance
(Increase over 2011*)

February   19,253    60%
March       30,804    114.7%
May          52,151    15.8%
August      57,591    4.8%

TOTAL    372,139     8.3%

*Numbers are rounded to the nearest tenth

Zoo Director, Ted Fox, attributes the spike in attendance to the opening of new exhibits, a variety of zoo babies and recent improvements, such as Primate Park and Asian Elephant Preserve.

“Guests are coming from all over to visit the Rosamond Gifford Zoo,” said Fox. “We experienced a ‘baby boom’ in 2012. The community loves seeing new animals, and with the hatchings and births of everything from penguins and turtles to fennec foxes and snow leopards, there was something new to see nearly every month of the year.”

“More and more people are realizing how wonderful the Rosamond Gifford Zoo is and they are visiting in record numbers,” said Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney. “Newer attractions like Primate Park and Asian Elephant Preserve, combined with the incredible programs put on by the zoo, are really drawing attention and we have much more in store for the future.”

The 2013 season begins with half-price zoo admission in January and February and the annual Winter at the Zoo Photo Contest. And the changes that have been bringing people to the zoo will continue in the coming year.

The zoo is currently undergoing improvements to the main entrance and parking lot, which will be followed by modifications to the main pond and picnic area in the interior portion of the zoo.

The community is eagerly anticipating the opening of the giant Pacific octopus exhibit, slated for early in the year. Funded by Friends of the Zoo, the new exhibit will be located in the upper lobby, near the Jungle Café and will feature sea stars, anemones and rock fish, in addition to the octopus.


Significant Births, Hatchings & New Arrivals at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in 2012

2 Banggai cardinal fish hatched
5 Humboldt penguin chicks hatched
Patas monkey, Ty, born
Bald eagle, Ben, acquired

Humboldt penguin chick hatched
Panther grouper, Spot, acquired

17 fish (11 species) acquired

2 fennec fox kits, Todd & Vixey, born
27 yellow-spotted Amazon River turtles hatch
Harris hawk, Aniken, acquired

2 kookaburra chicks hatch
5 green & black poison dart frogs hatch

2 snow leopard cubs, Bajen & Ramil, born
2 rabbits acquired
3 guinea pigs acquired
Meerkat, Chamberlain, acquired

Markhor, Marisa, born
2 troupial chicks hatch
2 Flemish giant rabbits acquired
Virginia opossum, Alli,  acquired

2 fennec fox kits, Peapod & Pumpkin, born
2 alpacas, Finnien & Avernus, acquired
3 grey wolves, Romulus, Remus & Sylvia, acquired
2 chuckwallas hatch

8 seahorses acquired
Dragonface pipefish acquired

3 ringed teal hatch

Patas monkey, Zarina, born
Asian elephant, Doc, acquired
Sand cat, Alina, acquired

5 Banggai cardinal fish hatched
Markhor, Thor, acquired

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