Why not celebrate National Zoo Day by heading to the Utica Zoo? We talked with Mike Beck at the zoo about the most popular exhibits, and something you have to see during your visit, especially if you haven't been to the zoo in the last year or two.

National Zoo Day is coming up on Saturday, April 8th. Mike Beck is the Communications Coordinator at the zoo, and he knows pretty much everything that's going on with the zoo and all their animals.

We asked him to run through a normal day for him at the zoo. He says his day is very atypical and depends on what's going on at the zoo that day, or what events are coming up. But he deals with the media, shoots videos, posts on the zoo's social media outlets, and let's people know the latest news at the zoo and things coming up. Beck added,

I really say it's my job to invite people to the zoo and show what we have to offer...

...And I get to feed an animal once in a while, if the zookeepers let me...

What about someone who hasn't been to the Utica Zoo in a few years? What are some things they have to see during their visit? Well, Mike Beck says it's the brand new male Bactrian Camel... and he is HUGE!

He joins our female, Najla, who has been here a few years. And we're hoping maybe in the future - They are set as a breeding pair - So fingers crossed, we might see some little camels... Little at first.

We also asked him about the most popular animal or exhibit in the zoo (although, we were pretty sure we already knew what it was). And can you believe it, we were right! It's the Red Panda Exhibit. And it has been getting national recognition. Mike Beck talks about their "Red Panda Encounters," which allows you to actually go into their exhibit, learn about them, and you even can feed them their favorite treats. The Red Panda Encounters are SO popular though, they're completely booked up until December (and they do two encounters each week). But that doesn't mean you can't book your encounter and go sometime next year.

Why not stop by the Utica Zoo to celebrate National Zoo Day this weekend? They're open from 10am to 4:45pm (everyday, including Saturdays and Sundays). Cost is $8 for adults and $4.75 for children 3 to 12 years of age (children 2 and under get in for free). There are also discounts for seniors, military, and college students (with their ID).

And don't forget to stop by the adorable Red Panda Exhibit. Those cute, little buddies will just make your day.




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