• The Zoo is closed for Thanksgiving.

The Beginning


1888: Lands purchased for Seneca Park.

1890-1897: Fredrick Law Olmsted Company creates plans for Seneca Park.

1893: Frederick Law Olmsted Sr. retires due to Alzheimer's complications.

1893: Seneca Park officially opens to public.

1894:Animals first displayed in lower Seneca Park. The Zoo originally featured different species of deer and some birds, and had an outdoor aviary next to the trout pond in the lower park. During part of the year, some of these animals were displayed in Durand Eastman Park.

1895:Trout introduced to Trout Pond; Mongolian pheasants introduced.

1897: Bird cages and animal shelters constructed next to Trout Pond.

1902: Permanent shelters for 150 animals constructed next to Trout Pond.

1903: Frederick Law Olmsted Sr. dies.

1905: Large-flight cage for 300 birds is constructed in lower Seneca Park.

1931: The first major addition to the Zoo, the building of the Main Zoo Building, was completed. It featured a wide variety of exotic animals that hadn't been displayed at the Zoo before. One of the most famous residents of that building was Jimmy the Chimp, who, at the time of his death at age 55 on September 17, 1985, was the oldest chimpanzee in captivity. When first opened, this building was true to the menagerie style of most zoos of the time, featuring dozens of unrelated species in a fairly compact space.

1937: The aviary next to Trout Pond is the only remaining Zoo exhibit in lower Seneca Park.