Thompson Park Zoo and Conservancy E-Newsletter
March 2015

In This Issue
Modified Winter Hours
Zoo Events
Education Programs
Birthday Parties
2014 in Review
Goings on in Guest Services
Department Wishlists

We are open modified hours for the winter months, November-February

Admission into the Zoo is:

$9 Adults
$7 Seniors
$6 Kids (3-12)
Kids under 3 are free! 


About Us

The 32-acre Thompson Park Zoo is located in historic Thompson Park in Watertown, NY.  This one-of-a kind zoo exhibits over 100 animals representing 65 species of New York's abundant, threatened or endangered indigenous wildlife.  Further information on all programming, special events, and pricing can be found at our Facebook page ( or by visiting



De ar zoo supporters,


What does the zoo mean to you?  I believe zoos should reflect the needs and desires of the local community, and I love helping zoos achieve their unique visions for the future.  As the Director of the Navajo Nation Zoo, I consulted with medicine men to transform the zoo into "a sanctuary for nature and the spirit", and at the Oregon Zoo, I conducted research on animal welfare to "create a better future for wildlife."  Now, I'm working with the Thompson Park Conservancy Board of Directors on a strategic planning process that will put in writing the very essence of the New York State Zoo: who we are, what we value, and how we can best improve the quality of life for North Country residents and visitors from around the world.  This is an incredibly exciting time, and I'm looking forward to updating you on our progress over the coming year.  In addition, I'd like to invite you to participate by sharing what the zoo means to you - you can send your thoughts and stories to me at or post them on our facebook page.


In the meantime, zoo staff are busy creating new and exciting activities for our visitors (and animals!) in 2015.  This month we're kicking off our "8 in 8" program - eight new features to be unveiled over the next eight weeks.  Right now these projects are top secret, but you'll get a sneak peak in next month's issue of the e-newsletter.  Even better, you can stop by the zoo and ask one of our friendly staff members to tell you more.  We're open seven days a week in March from 11am - 3pm.


When the Thompson Park Conservancy began oversight of the zoo more than 20 years ago, they committed to create nothing less than one of the country's best small zoos - a place that would inspire visitors to protect the native species we all care about.  Today, we are poised to make great progress towards this goal, thanks to an energized board of directors, skilled staff and volunteers, and the enduring support of the community.  


Great things are coming - I can't wait to share them with you.


Matthew Holdgate, Ph.D.

Executive Director







March Open Hours
Hopefully winter will be drawing to a close soon, and that means that we are gearing up for another amazing summer here at the top of Thompson Park! Starting March 1st, and continuing through the month of March we will be open 11am-3pm every day. So get out of the house, come in and chat with our staff and get excited for all the great changes we are making for you, our visitors!

If you have any questions about the schedule, feel free to contact us at


Upcoming Zoo Events- Save the Date!


March 28th- Eggstravaganza at the Zoo

This added value event is included in zoo admission for the day! Come and check out some of our spring themed activities including crafts for the kids, special tours and of course egg treats for some of our exhibit animals. This event will be going from Noon-2pm.

April 18th - Earth Day Celebration 

Co-hosted by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, this event will bring together representatives from scores of different local groups who are all concerned will environmental conservation and community initiatives. Booths will be geared toward both adults and children, so there is something for everyone. Bonus, admission to the Zoo for the day will be $1! More information will be available on our website and Facebook page as we get closer to the event so stay tuned!

May 15th- The Wild Golf Tournament

This spring, the Watertown Gold Club at Thompson Park will be hosting a golf tournament to benefit the Zoo. Final details are currently being solidified, so look for the information to come out soon. If you have interest in receiving the information directly when it comes out, please email with your contact information. 

Education Programs




Starting to get cabin fever? Get outside and learn some new things this month! Pre-registration is requested, and pre-payment is encouraged to secure your spot at any of these programs. Call 315.755.0894 or email for more information. 


Ever watched a bobcat pounce through the snow after a treat? Saturday, March 14 is your chance! Our enrichment program for our bobcats, Shadow and Pandora, starts at 10am. This program costs $15/person, $40/a family of 4, 20% off for members. Additional family members can be added on to the family packet for a reduced rate. 


Also happening this month-


Wild Tots(ages 3-5)- Friday, March 6th at 10 a.m. in our Classroom. Topic: Spring is Sprung. 

Students will help create a giant spring mural with additional of all the spring necessities while learning about the season and the effects of nicer weather on wildlife. 


Junior Animal Keeper  (recommended for ages 6-11) - Thursday, March 12th at 4:00 Topic: Mammals

Come join us for a lesson in the finer points of keeping mammals as pets. What are the best conditions for them to live in? How much of a responsibility is it? A great program for anyone looking at having a ferret, chinchilla or hedgehog. 


Homeschool Academy- Wednesday, March 25th at 1:00 Topic: Mammals

We've got lots of mammals here at the Zoo! Come compare and contrast different members of this Class of Animalias!


More information on any of these programs can be found here. Click the education tab to see all our offerings.


If you have anything you would like to see added to our education offerings, or any suggestions please email We are always looking to better serve our community needs!


Birthday Parties at the Zoo

Calling all party animals! Looking for an indoor venue for that winter birthday party or just want to take it to a wilder level? Let us host your next birthday party and enjoy a fun, stress-free day of celebrating. With a wide range of party options, it's sure to be a good time. 

The best part? We are available to do the ordering, entertaining and clean-up if you want us to! For all party options, please look at our current pricing here. If you are interested in booking a party or need to check up on date availability call 315.782.6180.

Parties are already being booked for this summer, so call soon to get the date you want!
Volunteering at the Zoo -*Updates*

We are starting a separate  newsletter the first week of every month to explore the upcoming volunteer opportunities and any protocol updates. Special insider information will also be included. If you would like to be added to this list-proc please email to request an add!

V olunteer orientation for this month will be held on Saturday, March 7th at 9:00 am. Those interested in volunteering can come expecting a short introduction into the different departments here at the Zoo and opportunities within those departments. 

Future volunteer trainings will be held the first Saturday of the month at 9am for the rest of 2015.

Whether you are able to come in once a year or once a week, we always appreciate the help. Our system now allows us to keep accurate count of volunteering hours per person up to date, which can be used for resumes, college applications or military credit as warranted.

If you are interested RSVPing to attend this short orientation, or just have questions please email Elizabeth at or call 315.755.0894


Goings on in Guest Services   

Looking for that perfect gift for birthdays, graduations or any other event in your life? Our animal adoptions and programs provide  truly special experiences and help us spread awareness of our native species in one grand gesture! Packages are below, and there is one to fit every budget. 


Have someone in your life who has had long held aspirations to work with animals, or would  just love to see the critters up close? Our Become a Zookeeper program is an unique experience that lets someone follow around a keeper here at the Zoo during their morning rotation. This program is scheduled on a case by case basis around your needs, so call 315.755.0894 for more information. The cost is $80/person. 

Animal Adoptions are another unique option!
The adoption form and payment options are available  here . If you loved our animal art on sale last summer, you will love the option to engage in your own animal art experience at the $250 dollar level. 


 $50 Dollar Level-

  • Adoption Certificate, 5x7 Picture of the Animal, Fact Sheet about the animal to go out immediately
  • Name on the website/newsletter as animal parent
  • Monthly report on the animal sent in the mail for three months after the adoption.

$100 Dollar Level-

  • All of the above
  • Certificate for admission to an education department enrichment program for up to 4 people
  • Certificate for 50% off one item in the gift shop

$150 Dollar Level-

  • All of the Above
  • Behind the scenes tour of that animal*

$250 Dollar Level-

  • All of the Above
  • Painting encounter with the animal. This includes watching the animal "create" a masterpiece on canvas that the adoptive parent can take home.*

*Depending on the temperament or current training schedule of the animal, substitutions of animals involved may be required. 


Animals for adoption-

Wolverines ,Grey Wolves, Black Bears,Bobcat,Canada Lynx ,Roosevelt Elk,North American River Otter,Mountain Lion






Thank you to our new Adoptive Parents from since December:


Caitlyn Graves and Jim Scordo- North American River Otters

Sally Cullerton- Canada Lynx

Ryder Donahue- Roosevelt Elk

Cambel Donahue- Black Bears

Jaxon Donahue- Canada Lynx 

Robert Howard- North American River Otters

Kameron Smith- North American River Otters

Amanda Roberts- Bobcats

Billy Brennen- North American River Otters

Henry Brennen- Roosevelt Elk

Gretta Maitag- Black Bear

William Maitag- Mountain Lion

Cameron and Kaden Lee- Black Bear

Heuvelton 1st Grade Classroom- Gray Wolves





Department Wishlists


A great way to support the Thompson Park Zoo is by donating items that our various departments need. These items have been specifically requested, but we are grateful for any assistance in any form! Please contact us at 315.755.6180 if you have any questions. Thanks for your consideration!


  • Small Coolers for outreach (hard sided with locking lid)
  • Washable paints and other art supplies
  • Classroom Rug
  • Plastic Toy Animals
  • Saftey glasses/goggles

Guest Services

  • Radio Flyer Wagons, double seated.
  • Wheelchairs
  • Wood Pellets
  • Cleaning Supplies
  • Scrub Sponges

Animal Care

  • Cardboard
  • Fleece Blanket pieces for bedding
  • Pill Grinders
  • Food Scales
  • Soda Boxes
  • PVC Pipe 
  • Firehose
  • Newspaper
  • Blankets
  • Hand Warmers
  • Plug in Boot Dryers
  • Gas Powered Pressure Washer
  • Pallet Jack
  • Cordless Dremel
  • Large Boomer Balls


  • Leaf Rakes
  • Snow shovels
  • Square nosed Dirt Shovels

A HUGE Thanks!



Thank you to Jake's Lawn Care for all their help this year with our grounds! We very much appreciate it. 


Feel free to contact us with any questions at
We're here to help you!
The Staff at the Thompson Park Zoo and Conservancy