The Buffalo Zoo is a popular Western New York destination during the warmer months- but stop by on a February afternoon and you may be pleasantly surprised by what you see.
“The animals are usually more active in the cooler weather than in the summer, when they like to sleep a lot,” Christian Dobosiewicz, communications manager for the zoo, said. “This is the weather the Arctic animals were made to live in, and it’s fun to see them playing around in the snow.”
The cold, snowy weather mimics the natural environment of the zoo’s polar bears and Arctic foxes, animal behavior manager Mindy Ussrey said.
“They just love to come out and play- it’s really enriching for them,” Ussrey said.
The zoo’s sea lions, otters, and bison also enjoy playing in the lower temperatures.
The animals are provided with access to a heated barn, and they can make their own decisions whether to come out in the colder weather or to stay in, Ussrey said.”
“There are some animals we do keep indoors in the winter,” Ussrey said. “That’s a good time for the trainers to spend a lot of time one-on-on with their trainers.”
Winter is an ideal time for photographers to visit the zoo, since there are fewer school groups and usually no lines at exhibits, Dobosiewicz said.
“You can spend a lot of time at the windows,” he said. “It’s a different time to come visit the zoo than people are normally used to.”
If you need to warm up, there are plenty of indoor attractions on the zoo’s campus, including the tropical rainforest exhibit, which is kept at a balmy 78 degrees year-round, Dobosiewicz said.
“It’s modeled after an actual rainforest in Venezuela, so it’s like taking a mini-vacation in South America,” Dobosiewicz said.
Discount to the Buffalo Zoo is discounted during January and Febraury during the zoo’s “Polar Bear Days” promotion.
Tickets are $8.95 for everyone and parking is free through feb. 28.
Regular admission tickets for March through December are $12.50.