What’s in store for Watertown’s zoo?

What's in store for Watertown's zoo?

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - It rebranded as Zoo New York over the summer and events like Winter Wonderlights were born to bring people in at a slower time of year.

While the pandemic put them a year behind, officials at Watertown’s zoo are optimistic heading into 2021.

In an Advantage Watertown meeting Thursday, Zoo New York executive director Larry Sorel discussed the zoo’s plans for the year ahead.

Sorel says the zoo was hoping to be further along with many new projects in 2020, but the pandemic has put them a year behind schedule

“And so we are planning on a rebound year this year,” he said. “We have been able to use 2020 for a lot of planning, making contacts, things like that.”

Sorel says the zoo is in preliminary discussion with Gymo Architects in Watertown on making some of these new changes.

One of the projects that could be in the works is a new interactive experience with the elk. Others in discussion are a walk-through aviary exhibit, increasing the zoo’s education space, and a new entrance experience.

Some other expansion could occur on the 25 acres of undeveloped land the zoo owns outside of the fence line.

“So, right now we are discussing Adirondack ponds, which would be moose and maybe beaver and some other animals from the Adirondacks area.” Sorel said.

Sorel says this plan is all about modernizing the experience for visitors while keeping the ideas of conservation and education at the forefront.

“Part of our role, sustaining us moving forward, is to inspire people to help preserve that wonderful environment that we live in and that’s the main thing we want to do,” he said. “All of those other pieces are ultimately leading to that.”

Sorel says the zoo hopes to have more of a visual approach to some of these projects at some point in April.

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