Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo discussed the vision behind a multi-stage upgrade at the Seneca Park Zoo and the contest to name the new sea lion Friday during News 8 at Sunrise.
“It’s going to be a terrific expansion of our zoo, right within the footprint of the zoo itself, a $13.5 million expansion,” said Dinolfo. “We’re bringing in a wonderful exhibit, much anticipated. Our giraffe exhibit will be at the northern end of the zoo. Very thrilled about that. People are going to be able to have an up close and personal experience with the giraffes, be able to feed the giraffes, and see them in a natural habitat. Great attraction. Very exciting! We’re also bringing in a tram system. So, the zoo, as you know, is linear. It’s a long walk from the front of the zoo to the back of the zoo. We want to make sure that the people that visit our zoo, whether they are Monroe County residents, or they’re visiting for the day, coming to see what we have to offer here in our community, have a positive experience from the time that they enter the zoo until the time that they leave it.”
Dinolfo noted the economic impact of the Seneca Park Zoo. “This zoo is huge for tourism dollars that come into our community. The expansion itself is local jobs for local people, and every contractor that is working on our zoo expansion is a local company, employing our friends and neighbors here in our community.”
The Monroe County Executive also discussed the fiscal challenge of separating essential services from things like the zoo, which improve the overall quality of life in a community. “Like I said with the zoo expansion, those are all local companies with local people working at our zoo. So that keeps food on the table for the people who live in this community. It keeps people living here and working here not just today, not just tomorrow, but for generations to come. So when we provide those kinds of services, we’re looking at who’s working in our community, where the jobs are, what is the economic driver. We’re encouraging people to either stay in Monroe County, which we love, or encouraging businesses to locate here. The number one question, besides what do you have for a labor force, is what do you have to do here? So when we’re trying to attract businesses here to Monroe County, people want to know what is the quality of life like, and the zoo is one of our top attractions and destinations. So it’s a great investment. It’s a community investment. Not just for today, but for generations to come.”
Dinolfo is a big fan of the new sea lion, and wants the public to help it find a name. “The new sea lion is terrific! A little bit of a show off. He’s a boy! And, every time I go there, he’s outside and he’s showing us his great flippers, which are enormous for such a small sea lion, but we have a sea lion naming contest going on and the public is invited to submit their names. You can actually drop a suggestion off at the front entrance of the zoo, or you can go into the zoo and check out our newest sea lion and name, maybe you’re inspired by what you see, and help name that sea lion. That contest is going through the sixteenth of August, and thereafter a panel of experts who are working with our animals every day at the zoo are going to narrow the names down to three names, and then the public – this is a democracy – the public is going to vote on the names that are suggested, the top three, and then we’ll decide after the votes are tallied, what the new sea lion will be called.”
After the judges panel selects the three name finalists, you can cast your vote by going to Dinolfo’s Facebook Page/Cheryl Dinolfo to cast your vote for the winning name. Votes can be cast until August 22, at which time the winning name will be announced.
For more information about the Seneca Park Zoo, click here.