Art Gone Wild! Art Exhibition

Family Twilight Animal Art

Art Gone Wild!

Art exhibition
Friday, November 1 – Friday, November 22 | 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Enjoy extraordinary artwork created by our animals as part of their enrichment activities. Pieces produced by elephant trunks, red panda paws, penguin feet and octopus arms will be on display leading up to our reception and art auction on November 22.

Reception, Art Sale & Auction
Friday, November 16 | 6 – 8 p.m.
Don’t miss this opportunity to purchase a piece of animal art! Dozens of pieces created by the animals of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo will be auctioned off to support the zoo’s chapter of the American Association of Zoo Keepers. Light refreshments and cash bar available.

Advance sale tickets
$8 per person | $10 at the door
Free for age 12 & under

Reserve Now!

Run for the Cats and Support our Amur Leopard Woodland Project!

Syracuse Zoo RGZ Family Fun Run Two Women Running with Stroller
Janet Agostini Friends of the Zoo President & CEO

I recently had the honor of receiving the Key4Women Community Impact Award from Key4Women, a Key Bank-sponsored organization that helps women succeed in business.

Of course I was thrilled to get the award, but the best part is, Key4Women offered to make a generous donation to a cause of my choice!

Normally this would be a tough decision. I’m a huge supporter of many causes, most of them animal-related – plus it’s my job to raise money and support for the many missions of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo.

But in this case, it was easy – I chose the zoo’s Amur Leopard Woodland project!

Friends of the Zoo conceived this project when the zoo joined the Species Survival Plan for Amur leopards last year. Amur leopards are not only magnificently beautiful, they are the world’s most endangered big cats, with only 84 remaining in the wild. The SSP recommended pairing two young leopards, Tria from the Greenville (SC) Zoo and Rafferty from the San Diego Zoo, in hopes they would have cubs.

We welcomed the pair and our keepers worked to gradually introduce them – with great success! The couple accepted each other and on June 19, Tria gave birth to twin cubs, Milo and Mina. If you have not yet seen these adorable babies, you really should visit us soon.

Syracuse Zoo RGZ Amur Leopard Cubs Milo and Meena

The Friends was already raising funds to create a new home for Tria and Rafferty, and the new additions make this goal even more pressing. It will take about $400,000 to transform our former lion exhibit into a new habitat tailored for Amur leopards, including lots of vertical space, trees and climbing structures to accommodate their climbing prowess.

The sooner we can do this, the better – and there’s a fun way you can help! You can participate in the Syracuse Zoo Family Fun Run, a kid- and stroller-friendly 2.5K (1.5 mile) walk/run through part of Burnet Park and the zoo’s Wildlife Trail on Saturday, September 28. It ends with a party in the zoo courtyard, fun giveaways, free zoo admission and more. And yes, we hope to make it an annual fundraiser.

Of course when my staff asked what our first fun run should benefit, you know what I said! Our 2019 run is the Run for the Cats, and all proceeds will go to the Amur Leopard Woodland project. You can find more information on the fun run and sign up at .

Meanwhile, if you can’t make the walk/run but want to donate to this project, please visit or call us at (315) 435-8511 x8526.

My best,

Janet Agostini
President + CEO
Friends of the Zoo

Brew at the Zoo & Wine, Too!

2019 Brew at the Zoo Syracuse Zoo RGZ

Join us for the biggest-ever Brew at the Zoo and Wine, Too!

Brew at the Zoo attracts more than 2,000 guests for an evening of beer and wine, wonderful food and entertainment in the most exciting setting – the zoo! More than 50 stations positioned around the zoo, sampling beer, wine, cider, and more — there’s something for everyone. Who knew that philanthropic endeavors could taste so good?

Advance sale: $55 per person
SAVE! Advance group rate (6+): $50 per person
Advance sale ends Wednesday, July 31.
Tickets $65 per person beginning Thursday, August 1.
VIP: $95 per person – SOLD OUT
Tickets required; click here to purchase,
by phone at (315) 435-8511 x8589 
or purchase at the membership desk.
Anyone under 21, including infants and toddlers, will not be admitted.

VIP ticket holders get access to an exclusive reception at the zoo banquet room at 4 p.m. with food prepared by Catering at the Zoo, open bar (beer and wine only), special VIP-only tastings, early entry into Brew, animal greets, dedicated VIP comfort stations, more. For questions about VIP tickets, please call (315) 435-8511 x8518.

2019 Brew at the Zoo Map at Syracuse Zoo RGZ

Birdies Before Brew

Birdies Before Brew Better Than Ever 2019 Syracuse Zoo RGZ

Birdies Before Brew is Better than Ever!

Join us for Friends of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo’s golf tournament with the richest prizes ever, exclusive beer tastings and VIP treatment at our annual Brew at the Zoo and Wine, Too!

$10,000 cash for a hole in one!
$5,000 cash for a 50-foot putt in our putting contest
A 50-inch Ultra-high definition TV
$500 VISA gift card
Calloway golf clubs

Reserve your spot and join us
Friday, August 2, 2019
Registration 1 p.m.
Shotgun start at 1:30 p.m.

$200 per golfer includes
9 holes of golf at Burnet Park Golf Course
Golf cart and greens fees
Our exclusive plush zoo animal golf club covers
Beer tastings on the clubhouse deck
Hole-in-one and putting contests with great prizes
Exclusive VIP reception and early entry to Brew at the Zoo!

This event sells out – sign up today!

For details contact the development office at (315) 435-8511 x8518 or

Brew at the Zoo & Wine, Too – plus Big Bugs, NY Trail and a baby elephant!

Syracuse Zoo RGZ Brew at the zoo crowd
Janet Agostini Friends of the Zoo President & CEO

The Friends of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo’s biggest summer fundraiser — Brew at the Zoo & Wine, Too! – celebrates its 23rd year on August 2, and it has aged well. Every year it features something new, and this year is no different!

Exciting accompaniments to this year’s brew fest include a New York Beer & Wine Trail spotlighting local craft beers and wines along a section of the zoo’s newly renovated scenic walkway, as well as our summer exhibit of Big Bugs! – seven giant animatronic insects that promise to inject fun photo ops into the mix.

Brew-goers also get to enjoy animals on evening exhibit, music, games, a silent auction including animal-inspired items and experiences, and more. Proceeds from Brew at the Zoo benefit the Rosamond Gifford Zoo and all the creatures that call the zoo home.

A couple enjoys Brew at the Zoo

The 2019 event takes place 5:30 to 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 2, and advance sale tickets are available through Wednesday, July 31. Advance sale tickets are $55 per person and $50 for groups of six or more. Tickets will be $65 as of July 31 and also will be sold at the door if available. Advance tickets are on sale now at

For the VIP treatment, purchase our VIP ticket for exclusive access to a 4 p.m. reception with delicious food, open bar, animal greeters, pre-event VIP-only tastings and desserts — as well as dedicated VIP comfort stations and early access to Brew. VIP tickets are $95 each.

Brew at the Zoo is a CNY summer tradition that often sells out. Recent renovations to improve the zoo’s Wildlife Trail past Asian elephants, white-lipped deer and red wolves will make this year’s event even more enjoyable, especially with the chance to see our 8-month-old baby elephant, Ajay (Ah-JYE).

One of the highlights of Brew is an elephant demonstration at Asian Elephant Preserve, and with baby Ajay on hand, we think this will be the best Brew ever. Add to that our Big Bugs and the New York Beer & Wine Trail and there are a lot of new elements to celebrate this year.

Beer and wine distributors Spirit & Sanzone and TJ Sheehan and our catering sponsor, Tops, are returning with over 45 beverage stations and 10 food stations around the zoo. The New York Beer & Wine Trail will include Stout Beard Brewing Company, Empire Brewing, IBU Brewery, and Anything But Beer of Syracuse, WT Brews of Baldwinsville, 1911 Distillery of Lafayette and Zugibe Vineyards of Geneva, among others.

The event features music by Black Tie Entertainment and a silent auction whose prizes include animal artwork, gift baskets, sports memorabilia and donated excursions such as a hotel staycation and a craft beer and wine Thousand Islands boat tour. The silent auction will be conducted via mobile bidding, so Brew-goers can bid on their cell phones while enjoying the party.

Brew at the Zoo runs 5:30 to 8 p.m. August 2, with early entry for VIP ticket holders starting at 4 p.m.

For more information and updates, please visit

My best,

Janet Agostini
President + CEO
Friends of the Zoo


Advance sale: $55 per person
Advance group rate (6+): $50 per person
Advance sale ends Wednesday, July 31.
Tickets $65 per person beginning Thursday, August 1.
VIP: $95 per person
Tickets required; click here to purchase,
by phone at (315) 435-8511 x8589 
or purchase at the membership desk.
Anyone under 21, including infants and toddlers, will not be admitted.

VIP ticket holders get access to an exclusive reception at the zoo banquet room at 4 p.m. with food prepared by Catering at the Zoo, open bar (beer and wine only), special VIP-only tastings, early entry into Brew, animal greets, dedicated VIP comfort stations, more. For questions about VIP tickets, please call (315) 435-8511 x8518.

New at the Zoo – a Jellyfish Exhibit!

Syracuse Zoo RGZ Moon Jellyfish
Janet Agostini Friends of the Zoo President & CEO

I am happy to share that we have just unveiled a new exhibit at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo – moon jellyfish!

I am even more happy to share that the new exhibit was fully funded by the Friends of the Zoo in partnership with our zoo professionals who designed and installed it.

The Friends invested $20,000 to purchase two 100-gallon hexagonal tanks outfitted to house 25 moon jellies each that the zoo acquired from the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk, CT.

Moon jellies are translucent sea creatures with short, fringy tentacles and we have them lit with blue filters that show off their unique structure. The exhibit represents a new, first-time species for the zoo. It is located near the zoo’s other marine exhibits in the USS Antiquities cave.

After months of work to install the tanks and infrastructure for water filtration and cycling, temperature control and lighting, the jellies arrived about two weeks ago. The windows to the tanks were covered while the animals acclimated.

Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon and Onondaga County Legislature Chair Dave Knapp came to the zoo to help unveil the new exhibit – which became a focal point for many of our younger guests as soon as we pulled the curtain!

Zoo Director Ted Fox said the new exhibit will be a great addition in support of the zoo’s conservation and education missions. “Not only are jellyfish an iconic and popular species, they are indicators of the health of our oceans, so they give us added opportunities to talk about things like climate change and plastics pollution,” he said.

Jellyfish are invertebrates that use a form of jet propulsion to move through the water. They are famous – and feared — for their stinging cells, which they use to stun prey. However, moon jellies eat plankton and are the least dangerous jellyfish to humans.

Our moon jellies are relatives of another invertebrate species, upside-down jellyfish, that can be found in the Garden Eel tank right across the way from the new exhibit.

We hope you enjoy our newest additions to your zoo!

My best,

Janet Agostini
President + CEO
Friends of the Zoo

Snow Leopard Soirée: Monte Carlo

Snow Leopard Soiree: Monte Carlo Syracuse Zoo RGZ

Honoring Al Gough, Partner & CFO, Brine Wells Companies, LLC

Friday, February 8, 2019
6:30 p.m. – Cocktail reception and auction
8 p.m. – Dinner and live auction, followed by dessert stations and dancing

Friends of the Zoo’s annual winter fundraiser and gala features gourmet dining, entertainment, live and silent auctions, and animal greeters. Black tie attire and animal print are encouraged. Proceeds help benefit the zoo’s education programs, which connect more than 150,000 children and adults to the natural world.

For more information, call (315) 435-8511 x8518

$220/person, $1,750/table of eight; reservations required.

Reserve Now


Snow Leopard Soirée will again have mobile bidding on all silent auction items! All bidding will be done through your own cell phone. No scrambling to see the bid sheets at the end of the auction – you can now bid from anywhere, anytime before the close of the auction right from your own phone. You’ll even get an update if you are outbid!

To Register Click Here

Syracuse zoo’s Snow Leopard Soirée: Monte Carlo to be held Feb. 8

2018 Snow Leopard Soirée: Under the Sea Syracuse Zoo RGZ
Janet Agostini Friends of the Zoo President & CEO

The high-stakes, high-society elegance of Monte Carlo is this year’s theme for the Friends of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo’s annual Snow Leopard Soirée on Friday, February 8, a black-tie gala to benefit zoo education programs.

This year’s gala honors Al Gough, Partner & CFO of Brine Wells Companies, LLC, and Friends of the Zoo board member. Gough, a longtime zoo supporter, contributed to the Friends capital campaigns for the Penguin Coast and Primate Park exhibits at the zoo.

Snow Leopard Soirée has all the fun, food and fanciful decor of a charity ball, plus interactions with zoo animals and zookeepers and chances to bid on animal art and behind-the-scenes zoo experiences. Some of the more “zoo-nique” items include a painting created by siamang apes Abe and Fatima and art by Bactrian camels Patrick and George, as well as a behind-the-scenes sloth encounter.

The annual Soirée helps fund zoo education programs that reach some 150,000 people each year. Conservation education is key part of the zoo’s mission as an accredited member of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA), said Friends of the Zoo President Janet Agostini.

“AZA facilities are required to ensure that our guests come away with a greater understanding of the animal kingdom and wildlife conservation,” Agostini said.

“If your child has participated in a school field trip to the Rosamond Gifford Zoo or attended Zoo Camp, if you have come to a zoo event or have interacted with our teen Zoo Guides who work at the zoo each summer, you have been touched by a zoo education program.”

Rosamond Gifford Zoo’s education programs include:

  • Zoo to You, a mobile education program that brings zoo educators and ambassador animals – birds, lizards, snakes, even a porcupine – to schools, libraries, community centers and hospitals.
  • Zoo Camp – weeklong summer camps or day-long seasonal camps that include zoo tours, hands-on activities, games, crafts and interaction with animals and animal care staff on topics such as animal adaptations, habitats, enrichment and saving species.
  • Zoo Guides, a program that trains about 20 city high school students each year to work at the zoo helping to educate the public with animal biofact stations and other activities.

Soirée is an annual tradition that some couples and groups of friends plan for each year. The evening starts at 6:30 p.m. with a cocktail reception and silent auction. At 8 p.m., guests fill the zoo’s banquet room for a gourmet dinner and a live auction. A dessert spread, music and dancing follow.

The silent auction will feature Mobile Bidding by GiveSmart, which allows attendees to bid via their smart phones while enjoying the food and festivities.
To Register Click Here

If You Go
Snow Leopard Soirée 2019: Monte Carlo.
When: Friday, February 8, 6:30 to 11 p.m.
Where: Rosamond Gifford Zoo, 1 Conservation Place, Syracuse, NY 13204.
Why: Gala fundraiser to benefit the zoo’s education programs.
Cost: $220 per person; $1,750/per table of eight; reservations required.
Reservations: Reserve Now or call 315-435-8511 x8518.

Janet Agostini
President + CEO
Friends of the Zoo

A Season of Giving: Emma and Raeny

In this season of giving, I would like to give a shout out to two of our younger supporters for their generous efforts earlier this year on behalf of the zoo.

Emma Baker, 11, and Raeny Thompson, 12, are friends and students at Cazenovia Middle School. Every summer, these amazing girls hold a bake sale for charity – and this year they decided to support the zoo.

The girls made cookies, brownies, sea salt caramel cupcakes and chocolate mousse cups, among other goodies, and sold them in the Village of Cazenovia. They raised $200 for animal care and conservation at the zoo!

Emma and Raeny Bake Sale in CazenoviaThey said they chose the zoo because they both love to visit here. Most recently, they enjoyed seeing the snow leopard cubs and the red panda cubs born at the zoo this year.

We are truly grateful to Emma and Raeny for this generous gift. We are so fortunate to have a wonderful zoo family that supports our animals all year round.

My heartfelt thanks go out to Raeny, Emma and all of our zoo supporters.

Happy Holidays from your zoo!

Janet Agostini
President + CEO
Friends of the Zoo