The Utica Zoo is opening its doors for a "powerful" event you don't want to miss.

Sure, the kids are back in school, but that doesn't mean the end of summer fun. In fact, the perfect family event is happening right here in Central New York this weekend - and it won't cost you a thing.

This Saturday marks the Utica Zoo's annual WildLife Festival, which provides families a creative way to make fun, new memories with their kids.

Big Metal Light-Up Sign Outside the Entrance of the Utica Zoo
Photo Credit: TSM

There will be no cost to get in and parking is free. This weekend event is all about enjoying live music, delicious food, a whole bunch of vendors and, of course, experiencing all the amazing animals at the zoo.

What is the WildLife Festival?

As for what's in store for guests this year, the zoo explained:

At Wildlife Festival, you can visit the zoo as normal to see our animals, but also enjoy LIVE music and other entertainment, shop with various vendors, have lunch with one of the event’s food trucks, and learn some great stuff from one of our featured informational booths!

One of this year's vendors is the NYS Maple's Experience Truck, where you can learn how maple syrup is made. Live music will be provided by Big Tasty and the Sass.

However, there is plenty of live entertainment scheduled throughout the day; such as a show from Jim Okey Magic Comedy. Chainsaw carving champion Mark Tyoe will also show people how he creates his art.


As for the kids, there's face painting by Bippys Big Shoe Clowns as well as tons of activities they can enjoy at the Energy Zone next door, like bounce houses and caricature artists.

Admission for this weekend's event has already been taken care of by the New York Power Authority's Energy Zone, which operates just feet away from the zoo's entrance. Which means you can use that money to buy you or your kids something special from the zoo's gift shop or enjoy a tasty snack from the many food vendors who are heading to the event.

It also should be mentioned that the event is rain or shine - so dress accordingly!

The 2023 WildLife Festival runs Saturday, September 9, from 10 in the morning to 4 in the afternoon.

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