New York State Zoo at Thompson Park

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Upcoming Events & News

The Zoo is pleased to announce two new residents!

The Thompson Park Zoo is happy to announce the acquisition of two new Black Bear cubs which arrived from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks in Montana in mid-March.

The two female bears join Tess, the Zoo’s three year old bear cub, Tess, who has been at the Zoo since the summer of 2013. 

American Black Bear, or Ursus americanus, are found throughout Canada and in parts of the United States and Mexico and reside primarily in forested areas.

After spending time in quarantine and acquainting themselves to Zoo staff, the bears are now sharing exhibit space with Tess. Visitors interested in seeing the new bear cubs should check with Guest Services during their visit to see if the bears are on exhibit at that time. The Thompson Park Zoo’s Black Bear exhibit is sponsored by Watertown Savings Bank.

The best way to experience these new bears is with a Zoo family membership! The Zoo offers a variety of memberships to meet all budgets. Memberships are available online or at Guest Services. As always, stay tuned to the Zoo’s website (nyszoo.org) and Facebook page for updates on the bears.

Fun bear themed activities are planned at the Zoo all summer long. We invite you to join us on July 12th when the Zoo will be hosting its first annual Teddy Bear Picnic from 10AM-4PM. Details are available on the Zoo’s website.

The Thompson Park Zoo is pleased to announce the opening of the Heather A. Freeman Butterfly House!  Over the next few weeks several species of butterfly will be making the Butterfly House their home.  Stop in for a visit and learn everything you can about the life cycle of these amazing insects.

How much do you know about the Heather A. Freeman Butterfly House?

The Butterfly House at the Thompson Park Zoo was built in 1997; spearheaded by Watertown pediatrician Dr. Alfred Gianfagna and his family.  In early 2008, a blizzard caused severe damage to many of the wonderful exhibits at the Zoo, including the Butterfly House.

The Heather A. Freeman Foundation was established in January 2008 following the tragic death of Heather Freeman due to a motorcycle accident on August 19, 2007.  Heather loved sunflowers, blue skies and butterflies. The family and friends of Heather thought it would be a fitting tribute to repair the exhibit and dedicated it to her memory in 2008.  In 2011 in the Heather A. Freeman Foundation happily took over this yearly endowment. The donated funds are used to purchase live pupae (chrysalises), make improvements, increase staffing, and purchase native plants and flowers to beautify the exhibit.

The Butterfly House is home to numerous free flying at native species of butterflies and allows guests to encounter the insects in an environment that is safe for the butterflies. The exhibit also increases awareness of natural habitats in which butterflies thrive, the species can be observed engaging in many of their natural behaviors, including feeding on flower nectar or ripe fruit, drinking from puddles and basking in sunlight. With the support of our amazing community, Heather A. Freeman Foundation has been able to contribute $12,000 thus far to the upkeep and beautification of the Heather A. Freeman Butterfly House at the Thompson Park Zoo and are committed to keeping the butterfly house a vibrant reflection of Heather's spirit.

Don't wait, sign up now for the wildest day camp in the North Country! Nobody does day camp like the zoo. Your kids will learn, play, explore, and come home tired. Each week has a unique and exciting theme, and this year we're offering several weeks of full-day camp (9:30-4:00). 

Click here for all the details and to get a registration form.

The Thompson Park Zoo is happy to announce the birth of nine grey wolf pups on April 18, 2014.

The litter, consisting of seven males and two females, is healthy and adorable.   Most of the pups exhibit their father Keenai’s darker fur color.  This is the couple’s fourth litter.  Previous litters have number five, nine, and seven pups.

The pups are currently spending their time in the den box with their parents.  Once the pups are comfortable with their new surroundings, they’ll begin to make their way onto the exhibit space.  The grey wolf exhibit is part of the much larger Northern Wolf Trail at the Thompson Park Zoo and is sponsored by Northern Credit Union.

In 1974, it was estimated there were fewer than 300 grey wolves left in the lower 48 United States.  Thanks to conservation efforts and responsible breeding programs that number is now estimated at around 6000. 

The best way to experience these new wolf pups is with a Zoo family membership.  The Zoo offers a variety of membership plans to meet all budgets.  Memberships are available online (nyszoo.org) or at Guest Services.  As always, stay tuned to the Zoo’s website and Facebook page for more updates.

Have you ever wondered what our keepers do every day? This is your chance to shadow one of the New York State Zoo keepers as they go about their daily cleaning, feeding, and preparing the animals for the day. This program is available any day by request from 8:00 - 10:30 am (two weeks advance registration is required).

$45/person, $40 members

Children 12-15 must be accompanied by an adult.

Visit the New York State Zoo Today (315) 782-6180

What Visitors Say

The North Country's best Summer destination.

- Alan, Watertown, NY