Grocery shopping, zoo keeper style!

As the enrichment coordinator, I go shopping every few months for enriching food items for the animals at the Zoo. My goal is to purchase novel food items, spices, scents, and items to use for scattered feedings.

Photo by Sue Rea

Photo by Sue Rea

By providing the animals with these uncommon food items, we provide them with the opportunity to try something they may have never tasted or smelled before. Many of our animals are natural foragers, and by providing them with small food items in scattered feedings, we are able to encourage these species’ appropriate behaviors.

Some of these items include cereals, small pastas, grains, lentils, oats and seeds.  The animals and staff are very appreciative to everyone who participates in our ZooParent program for their generous donations that allow us to buy these special treats!

Several levels of ZooParents–Zoo Keeper, Senior Zoo Keeper, Zoologist and Zoo Curator–support this program. They help keep our animals healthy and strong through providing enrichment items that encourage physical and mental stimulation.    

ZooParent-Party-2015-Ceci-Menchetti--(32) ZooParent-Party-2015-Ceci-Menchetti--(56)

Last month, we had a party at the Zoo to thank ZooParents for their support, and collected an incredible amount of enrichment supplies that are already going to good use. Animal encounters, presentations and the friendly faces of more than 70 guests made it a very special evening. At the end of the night, we had accepted the largest collection of donated enrichment we have ever received!


If you’d like to help, you can always drop off items for the animals at any time. Unopened spices or extracts, flat sheets, newspapers and large cardboard tubes are always appreciated.

Call (585) 336-7212 to learn more about becoming a ZooParent


–Sue Rea, Zoo Keeper

Photos by Ceci Menchetti unless otherwise noted.