1957: The Seneca Park Zoo Society was chartered as
an educational institution by New York State. Since that time, the
Society has evolved into a non-profit organization that supports and
promotes the Zoo by running educational programs, special events,
marketing and public relations efforts, fundraising and food and gift
operations. The Society offers memberships that are very popular with
1969: A children's Zoo is established north of Main Zoo Building.
1972: The Docent program began in 1972, with the goal of deepening visitors' understanding of the Zoo and its conservation efforts. The Today Show's Willard Scott reported live with the Zoo's docents at Seneca Park Zoo in 1994. More than 80 of these educators are part of the program today.
1975: A polar bear grotto was built at the south end
of the Main Zoo Building for the Zoo's two famous polar bears, Penny
and Nickels. As their names suggest, Penny and Nickels were brought to
the Zoo through the pennies and nickels collected by area
schoolchildren. Penny and Nickels had 10 surviving cubs (six male and four female).
1986: The Wegmans ZooMobile makes its debut and has garnered nearly $1 million in direct financial support since its inception. The program has been providing year-round fun and exciting educational outreach services to area schools and other institutions, including daycare centers, preschools, nursing homes, adult day care facilities and libraries.